From Encinitas with love: Comfort Cubs sent to fire victims in Maui

Volunteers helped pack up Comfort Cubs to send to Maui.
(The Comfort Cub)

The Comfort Cub out of Encinitas recently sent a shipment of hugs, healing and hope to the people of Lahaina, Maui impacted by the wildfire.

On Aug. 30, local volunteers fluffed the therapeutic weighted teddy bears, wrote personal messages, and affixed ribbons on the 240 Comfort Cubs that will be distributed to fire victims. Already, the Comfort Cub has donated over 200 weighted cubs to victims of the fire, a total of 440 special bears reaching people at Maui shelters and schools.

Mother and daughter volunteers from the National Charity League’s Surf Cities chapter helped pack up the first shipment of love. Alaska Airlines has generously covered the cost of the shipping.

The nonprofit’s goal is to get their bears into the arms of anyone who is suffering from a broken heart. Comfort Cubs was founded 24 years ago by Marcella Johnson after she lost her infant son George.

“My heart hurt and my arms ached,” said Johnson, who said the aching only went away when she held tight to a weighted object.

Volunteers write messages of hope to accompany Comfort Cubs.
(The Comfort Cub)

With her husband they created Comfort Cubs, weighted bears that can provide the deep touch pressure healing needed to help prevent and heal Tokosubo cardiomyopathy, also called temporary broken heart syndrome. Johnson said when you hold a Comfort Cub it helps release the “good feeling” chemicals in your brain, like dopamine and serotonin.

The bears can do a lot of good, helping to bring a sense of calm to anyone who has experienced trauma, loss and grief. “The number one thing we hear is that it helps people to sleep at night,” Johnson said.

Many hospitals now offer a Comfort Cub to a parent who lost an infant. In the last several years, Johnson said Comfort Cubs have unfortunately been used a lot following mass shootings. Last year 1,000 Comfort Cubs were sent to Uvalde, Texas following the Robb Elementary school shooting.

According to Johnson, the people of Lahaina have been so grateful to receive the cubs. At a distribution event at a local church, a cub found its way into the arms of a woman who had lost her mother. She hugged that cub and would not let it go.

To support the cause visit

The Comfort Cubs packing event in Encinitas.
(The Comfort Cubs)