The Comfort Cub partners with NCL Surf Cities Chapter to provide much-needed therapeutic teddy bear hugs

NCL Surf Cities joins The Comfort Cub, tagging bears before they make their way into the arms of someone in need.

NCL Surf Cities joins The Comfort Cub, tagging bears before they make their way into the arms of someone in need.


Elizabeth Johnson



For those currently going through traumatic events, a special teddy bear hug is becoming a well-known therapeutic escape with The Comfort Cub. The world’s very first weighted therapeutic teddy bear has been proven by both doctors and therapists to ease anxiety and bring a sense of peace to people during times of tragedy.

In the age of COVID-19 and national unrest, now is a more important time than ever to make sure Comfort Cubs are accessible in San Diego County to those in need. In their continuous mission to help families cope with stress and heal from tragedy, The Comfort Cub team is in the process of giving away 1,000 Comfort Cubs nationwide throughout the next several months. In San Diego, they’re teaming up with a local partner to help.

To complete their distribution to families in San Diego County, The Comfort Cub is partnering with the National Charity League (NCL), Inc. Surf Cities Chapter to expand their efforts. NCL is a mother-daughter philanthropic group whose members come from La Jolla to Oceanside.

Marcella Johnson holds The Comfort Cub, a weighted therapeutic teddy bear.

Marcella Johnson holds The Comfort Cub, a weighted therapeutic teddy bear.
(Tina Case)

The Comfort Cub mission began in Los Angeles with UCLA Health and continues from coast to coast with deliveries to both hospitals to support frontline staff as well as patients and individuals in need of support.

The Comfort Cub was invented by founder Marcella Johnson in 1999 after the loss of her infant son, George, due to a congenital disease. The Comfort Cub was developed to help other mothers who suffered from the loss of their infant. This bear is specially weighted and is intended to simulate the weighted comfort of cradling a newborn.

Johnson and her team of volunteers had decided on the massive giveaway long before the COVID-19 outbreak. April 11, 2020, would have been her son’s 21st birthday. Johnson wanted to honor her son’s life by comforting others.

While the intention was originally to focus on parents mourning the loss of a child, Johnson saw the great need to comfort frontline workers and those feeling the ripple effect of COVID-19 and national unrest. There is medical evidence that shows this weighted bear provides profound relief for any traumatic event. Holding a Comfort Cub triggers the brain to release key neurotransmitters including serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin, causing the body to relax and feel comforted.

It becomes a resource in other situations that include having to leave the hospital while your baby is still in the NICU, the loss of a spouse, parent, loved one or beloved pet. It has also been effective for occupational and autism therapy, adoptions and those experiencing divorce or traumatic loss.

Partnering with San Diego’s NCL Chapter, The Comfort Cub has the ability to provide more therapeutic hugs within the county. These special teddy bears now have 300 mothers and daughters behind them as they volunteer to promote their awareness and prepare them for local distribution. NCL Comfort Cub liaisons Susie and Izzy DeReniz said, “We love their mission and enjoy volunteering with a nonprofit that brings so much healing to our Surf Cities communities and beyond.”

NCL lends its volunteer efforts by including a special card of encouragement, packaging and tagging each Comfort Cub for delivery. This is the second year the organizations have teamed up together for this cause. If you would like to learn more about The Comfort Cub program or to donate, visit