The Torrance Refining Company’s Operation Teddy Bear team of volunteers

On December 15, 2017, a group of Torrance Refining Company LLC (TORC) volunteers visited Webster Elementary School in Long Beach. The visit occurred as part of “Operation Teddy Bear,” a volunteer-powered literacy program run by the Volunteer Center South Bay-Harbor-Long Beach that provides schoolbags containing much-­­­needed learning supplies to the area’s most under-served first graders. TORC’s volunteers read “Teddy Bear Tales” to the school’s first grade students and delivered more than 100­ schoolbags.

Each schoolbag contains reading and coloring books, a learning clock, a toothbrush, pencils, crayons, and the program’s signature teddy bear. The program also provides teachers with helpful supplies such as stickers, white board markers, eraser sets, pencils, and glue sticks. The bags themselves are crafted by U.S. veterans in Carson through GreenVetsLA and its nonprofit vocational rehabilitation program, Vets Corps USA.

One of the schoolbags first-graders receive during Operation Teddy Bear

Schoolbags are delivered to first-graders in under-served areas during a special surprise visit by local volunteers who read to the students and speak with them about the importance of community volunteering.

“Each year, our refinery’s employees look forward to volunteering for Operation Teddy Bear as readers and schoolbag deliverers. The smiles on the kids’ faces when they receive their schoolbags are priceless,” said TORC’s Community Relations Manager Barbara Graham. “The program is a great way for our employees to encourage young students to learn to read and demonstrate the importance of volunteering in the community.”

In addition to employees delivering schoolbags and reading to students, TORC provided a donation to help fund the program. For more information about Operation Teddy Bear, visit