Portland man uses teddy bear to call attention to refugee crisis

Video shows reaction to refugee teddy bear

PORTLAND, Ore. -- A Portland man turned a giant teddy bear into a refugee to bring attention to the crisis in Syria.

"I saw images of kids carrying teddy bears as they escaped and I wondered what would happen if the teddy bear made it and the child didn't," said Mario Garza.

Garza put the stuffed animal on the streets of Portland with a sign and a camera hidden in the eye.

"We had 500 people come up to the bear in six hours," he said. "The children were the first to notice the bear and that got their parents to come over."

Garza moved to the U.S. from Mexico six years ago to go to college.

"I am not a refugee, but I want to call attention to a worldwide problem."

He made a short video chronicling the reactions of Portlanders to the refugee bear.

"It breaks my heart," said one woman as she glanced down at the picture on the sign. "Especially with children, how do you do that?"

Garza hopes those who see the video will be moved to take action.

"Donations are great and I'd like to raise awareness so that someday everyone will stop and be willing to help," he said.

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