WORCESTER, Mass. (WHDH) – The Gardner Fire Department was spreading smiles Tuesday by donating hundreds of teddy bears to kids at a Worcester hospital.

Firefighters delivered stuffed animals to kids at the UMass Memorial Children’s Medical Center.

It all started on Facebook, when the chief asked for teddy bear donations. They said the response was overwhelming.

“I lost count after 150, so there’s a lot,” said Lt. Eric Hulette, of the Gardner Fire Department.

“It kind of draws their attention away from the scariness of what’s going on, and kind of puts a smile on their face for a few minutes,” he added.

The final teddy bear headcount was more than 500 donations strong.

The fire chief says he wants to make it an annual event.

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