Soroptimists International of Gresham has produced a documentary of the beloved Teddy Bear Parade, which was canceled this year due to COVID-19.

PMG FILE PHOTO -    If not for the COVID-19 pandemic, Saturday, Sept. 26, would have marked the 38th annual Teddy Bear parade in downtown Gresham.

This annual event has been organized and presented by Soroptimists International of Gresham for most of those years.

Although the 2020 parade has been canceled due to concerns for the spread of the COVID-19 virus, MetroEast Community Media has produced a one-hour documentary about the event to be broadcast at the same time the parade would have taken place.

The documentary — "History & Highlights of Gresham's Teddy Bear Parade" — features parade founder Pat Fiedler, along with parade emcees Carol Nielsen and Greg Matthews, who give viewers a look back through the years. This long-running and much-loved community event is a fundraiser for the Soroptimists International of Gresham.

COURTESY GRAPHIC: METROEAST COMMUNITY MEDIA -     You can view the documentary on local cable TV channels at the times listed on the accompanying guide. After the premiere, the documentary will also be available for viewing on the video-sharing platform, Vimeo. Check the Soroptimist Facebook page or MetroEast's page for that link.

The documentary is sponsored by Alina Rocha Johnson of Edward Jones and was produced in partnership between the Soroptimists International of Gresham and MetroEast Community Media.

Soroptimist is an international organization working to improve the lives of women and girls, in local communities and throughout the world. Over 70,000 Soroptimists in about 120 countries and territories contribute time and financial support to community-based and international projects that benefit women and girls.

The local Gresham chapter of the Soroptimists has been in existence for more than 40 years. Made up primarily of local business women, the club is now open to all.

Funds raised from Teddy Bear Parade sponsorships go to the Live Your Dream scholarship fund which distributed $11,500 in scholarships to women in 2020 wanting to further their education at Mt. Hood Community College and other local educational institutions.

Scholarship money is unrestricted so the women can use it for other needs besides tuition, such as childcare, transportation, food and utilities.

Visit the Soroptimists' website for more information about the organization.


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