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Condors collect 8,415 stuffed animals from Teddy Bear Toss

Posted at 7:57 PM, Nov 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-26 22:57:34-05

The Bakersfield Condors 20th annual Teddy Bear Toss ended with 8,415 stuffed animals. 

This is the second highest stuffed animals collected in the history of this event. 

Joe Gambardella made the lone goal for the Condors Saturday night against the Tuscon Roadrunners, in front of a season-high 8,497 fans. 

“It was the 8,500 fans that were in attendance that made this all possible. We did the easy part of just getting it in the net, but all the fans and everybody behind the scenes they made this all possible," said Gambardella. 

This was also Gambardella's first Teddy Bear Toss. 

“It was really special and the way it happened was just pretty surreal honestly and to see all the fans come and support us. To see all the teddy bears thrown out it was pretty amazing,” said Gambardella.

Monday morning Gambardella along with hundred of volunteers sorted through the stuffed animals at the Society for Disabled Children. 

"We’ve been here since 5:30 in the morning. We had the truck unloaded, they came in with the bags, they put them on the tables, assorted from small, medium, large, jumbos," said Norma Pruneda. 

For 20 years now the Condors have collected nearly 130,000 stuffed animals. 

They donate them to less fortunate children through the United Way of Kern County. 

“To see a kid that you know probably won’t have [anything] under that Christmas tree, but when you’re able to bring them that teddy bear, or a toy, that will probably be the only teddy bear that they get. It could bring tears to your eyes, but it brings hope in that kids heart," said pastor Kevin Freeman. 

"It's amazing and a very special feeling to see all these people here that dedicated and donated their time to a very special cause," said Gambardella. "Knowing that we’ll make some people's holidays, and make some people’s days a little bit better is the best feeling in the world…

The highest stuffed animal collected was in 2017 with nearly 11,000 teddy bears donated.