Madeline Ravich
Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness
(773) 339-3600

CT Coalition to End Homelessness be homeful for the holidays drive raises more than $70,000 to help local families remain housed

PaddingtonTM plush bears, books, and baby gifts “raised” for 1000 children in CT shelters

Hartford, CT, February, 2020- The Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness is pleased to announce that everybody’s favorite bear, Paddington™, has helped to raise more than $70,000 in funds to make it possible for local families to remain housed.

This holiday season, the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness joined forces with CT REALTORS® Foundation, Citizens Bank, and United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut to engage businesses and communities around the state in holding “bear-raiser” drives to help local families remain housed. Volunteers asked their communities to donate Paddington plush bears, books, and baby gifts to children in shelters for $25 a-piece. Sponsorships allowed funds raised to go towards emergency funds to divert families from shelter.

The results were dramatic, with bears, books, and baby gifts raised for every child who would be spending their holidays in a local shelter. CT REALTORS® led the way for the third year running, raising more than $70,000 through drives held by local REALTOR® associations and members.

More than 40 businesses, congregations, schools, and communities from all over Connecticut joined the CT REALTORS® in raising funds for the project. This year’s Paddington bear-raisers included Splash Car Wash locations throughout Fairfield and New Haven Counties. Here is a Google map of drives that took place across the state.

Children from Easton’s Samuel Staples Elementary School also showed their solidarity with peers facing homelessness by holding a community-wide bear-raiser drive in honor of Paddington’s favorite food, raised more than $3,400 to benefit local families.

Volunteers from CT Association of REALTORS® and Citizens Bank, with help from Daley Moving and Storage, wrapped and delivered gifts to nearly 50 family shelters in every corner of the state. Nearly every child in shelter this holiday season received both a bear or Paddington blankie to snuggle and a book to curl up with just before the Christmas holiday.

“It warms our hearts to see our little Paddingtons make their way to children experiencing homelessness in every corner of Connecticut,” said Deb Chamberlin of CT REALTORS® Foundation. “CT REALTORS® are proud to be part of a solution that is helping families remain housed this holiday season.”

“We are thrilled to see the be homeful project grow from year to year, and excited to be part of a project that has prevented more than 1200 children from having to experience the hardship of homelessness,” said Lisa Maass, president, Citizens Bank, Connecticut. “Partnerships like this one with the CT REALTORS® Foundation allow people to have access to the resources they need and the safety and security of knowing services exist when emergencies arise.”

For pictures from this year’s holiday campaign, please visit @behomeful at and www.instragram/behomeful.

To learn how your business or community can hold a drive for the be homeful project next year, visit

This year’s be homeful for the holidays campaign is made possible through the generous support of CT REALTORS® Foundation and Citizens Bank with additional support from the United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut.

About the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness

CCEH represents more than 100 members – emergency shelter providers, transitional housing providers, community and business leaders, and strategic partners – who share the goal of ending homelessness. In partnership with communities throughout the state, CCEH advances this goal through leadership, community organizing, advocacy, research, and education. In 2015, CCEH launched the be homeful project to help stamp out family homelessness for good by ending homelessness one family at a time. In partnership with businesses through the state, through the be homeful project, money is raised to increase shelter diversion, allowing struggling families stay in the comfort of their home. According to research, the best way to help people is to keep them out of the shelter in the first place. Remarkably, through this project, it only costs on average $1000 to help a family at risk of homelessness remain housed.

About the be homeful project

CCEH started the be homeful project to respond to the lack of funds available to help families at the front door of shelter. The primary goal of this project is to raise emergency funds that case workers assisting clients referred by 2-1-1 can access to assist with one-time expenses that will be the difference between whether a family enters the shelter system or is able to remain housed. CCEH is fortunate to be partnered with the children’s book character Paddington, who is helping raise awareness about the impact homelessness has on young children and engage kids, families, and communities in lending a hand to families facing homelessness.

About the CT REALTORS® Foundation

The CT REALTORS® Foundation is a 501c3 charitable corporation whose mission is “To be good neighbors to our members, our communities, and the world. REALTORS® Care.” Its activities include but are not limited to providing scholarships, disaster relief funds, and hunger/homelessness prevention efforts. For more info, visit

About Citizens Financial Group, Inc.

Citizens Financial Group, Inc. is one of the nation’s oldest and largest financial institutions, with $155.4 billion in assets as of June 30, 2018. Headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island, Citizens offers a broad range of retail and commercial banking products and services to individuals, small businesses, middle-market companies, large corporations and institutions. Citizens helps its customers reach their potential by listening to them and by understanding their needs in order to offer tailored advice, ideas and solutions. In Consumer Banking, Citizens provides an integrated experience that includes mobile and online banking, a 24/7 customer contact center and the convenience of approximately 3,200 ATMs and approximately 1,150 branches in 11 states in the New England, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest regions. Consumer Banking products and services include a full range of banking, lending, savings, wealth management and small business offerings. In Commercial Banking, Citizens offers corporate, institutional and not-for-profit clients a full range of wholesale banking products and services, including lending and deposits, capital markets, treasury services, foreign exchange and interest rate products and asset finance. More information is available at or visit us on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook.

About United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut

United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut brings together people and resources committed to the well-being of children and families in our community, where opportunities are available for every child to succeed in school and for every family to achieve financial security. For more information, visit

About Paddington

For over 60 years, British-born writer Michael Bond has delighted children and families all over the world with his stories about Paddington, the bear from Darkest Peru famous for his love of marmalade. Paddington is popular with both children and adults who feel affectionate and warm towards him and the charm and humour of the Paddington stories is the key to their enduring popularity.

Paddington’s adventures have been adapted several times for television and at the end of 2014 Paddington made his debut onto the big screen, a further film Paddington 2 followed in 2017 with a third in the works. The movies were produced by Studiocanal, part of the international content and media group Vivendi. A new Paddington TV series also from Studiocanal is set to launch on Nickelodeon in 2020.

Follow Paddington on Twitter at @paddingtonbear. Like Paddington’s Facebook page at

©P&Co. Ltd./SC 2019

Licensed on behalf of STUDIOCANAL S.A.S by Copyrights Group