The Student Alumni Association of Fairfield University collected 1,477 Teddy bears for the 11th annual Teddy Bears with Love program.

The bears are given to children who live locally and as far away as Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Since its inception, the holiday giving program has collected and donated nearly 12,500 Teddy bears.

Colleen McGinn, associate director of alumni relations, who oversees the project, said, "Believe it or not, the recession hasn't seemed to have made a huge difference on our collection. While the numbers do vary each year, we find it doesn't have much to do with the economy, as it does with people choosing to give to other charities."

Alumni chapters from Boston, Chicago, Northern New Jersey, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. served as area contacts for local alumni to donate bears.

Erin Stahl, a senior and president of Fairfield's Student Alumni Association, said the Teddy Bears with Love program is a meaningful way for her group and the campus community to come together. "I personally love the Teddy Bears program because each bear collected means one more smile on a child's face, and I can't think of a better gift to give each year."

The stuffed animals will be hand-delivered to St. Vincent's Medical Center; Bridgeport Hospital; Yale New Haven Children's Hospital; the Connecticut Children's Medical Center; Action Bridgeport Community Development; Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston; Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago; Georgetown Medical Child Life Program in Washington, D.C.; Variety-the Children's Charity in Philadelphia; Overlook Hospital of Summit, N.J.: and Suffolk County Child Advocacy Center in New York.

"There's something about driving up to the door of one of these hospitals and charities, and handing over hundreds of new Teddy Bears, knowing they're going directly to a child," McGinn said.