Bears in other towns may overturn trash cans or scare little kids, but in Wilton, we have a bear that raises money for our Food Pantry. Meet the Wilton Bear.

To really meet him, you’ll need to visit his Facebook page, as our town’s sophisticated ursine likes to connect on social media. Not only can you friend him on Facebook (where he goes by the name Wil Tonbear) but you can learn all about a fundraising event he has cooked up with Susan Schmitt of The Painted Cookie. The duo are hosting a Color-a-Cookie event tomorrow, Saturday, Sept. 17, from 1-4 p.m..


It’s all to benefit the Wilton Food Pantry and Wilton Rocks for Food, the effort created last year to support the pantry. We asked Mr. Bear and Ms. Schmitt to answer some questions about their joint effort. It should be noted that these questions were all answered over Facebook–aside from random appearances on the NRVT or outside people’s homes, Wilton Bear prefers to keep a low profile and isn’t really into sit-down, face-to-face interviews…. for now.

Look for this profile pic on Facebook.
Look for this profile pic on Facebook.

Wilton Bear

GMW:  How did you and the amazing Painted Cookie lady connect?

Wilton Bear:  When I came into town and set up my Facebook profile, I really didn’t know anyone. Then all of sudden I felt like the whole town became my family!! It was so wonderful to be accepted by the beautiful people of Wilton!! Even if I could be a nuisance sometimes!!!

Anyway, I think I started following her page because I just love cookies and she is so talented. We started to chat with each other and then we came up with this idea!! Susan is so nice and a beautiful spirit. Wilton is lucky to have her in this town. Her cookies are part of the town’s identity and I’m so happy that she has offered her time to help fur such a worthy cause.

GMW:  Are you a fan of cookies? Do you get the chance to eat them often?

Wilton Bear:  I can’t decide if I love honey or cookies more!! I could smell cookies from a mile away and it makes me feel so happy. Cookies have this magical element:  they make everyone smile and if for only one brief moment, bring a sense of peace to such a crazy world!! Imagine if humans dropped cookies instead of bombs?? What a wonderful world that would be.

Oh. Yes. I do get to eat them often. I can rummage pretty well.

GMW:  How did this idea come together?

Wilton Bear:  I think the ingredients all came together when Susan noticed all my likes and yummy comments on her posts. We started chatting and thought this would be a good idea to help those in need.

GMW:  You seem to have a soft spot for the Wilton Food Pantry. Why did you want them to be the recipient of the proceeds?

Wilton Bear:  You know, I’m a really lucky bear to live in such a beautiful town that has so much to offer its humans. The humans that live here work hard and that gives them the luxury of living well.

From my daily strolls, it is apparent to me that not everyone is so lucky and I can see the struggles in their faces. With the humans of Wilton being so kind and having a spirit of volunteering, I thought it would be important to make sure everyone that needs food gets food. Trust me, I know what it’s like to be hungry, and while I get cranky, it’s nothing compared to what I feel when I hear or see a family in need of food. So, the efforts by Wilton Rocks for Food is something that I believe can make a difference.

GMW:  Will you make an appearance at the event on Saturday? I bet that there are lots of Wilton kids who would like to meet a friendly, kind and compassionate bear.

Wilton Bear:  You know that’s a great question. I’m very busy preparing for my hibernation and I’m not sure I can make it. l’ve inadvertently run into a few children and they got scared. The last thing I want to do is scare anyone, let alone an innocent child.

I am thinking though that if we raise enough money, to wake up from my hibernation for the Wilton Rocks for Food concert and make an appearance. Who knows, maybe I can play so my cowbell!!

GMW:  Do you know what cookie shapes will be available for coloring?  

Wilton Bear:  The cookie cutters represent many of my favorite things:  We have bears, beehives, cakes, unicorns, pirates and rectangles. I am hoping to add some squirrels tomorrow if we can get to them. Yes, I do like pirates and I’ve seen a unicorn!! They’re really pretty.

Susan Schmitt, The Painted Cookie

GMW:  This is a fun fundraiser. How did it come about?

The Painted Cookie:  When Wilton Bear appeared on Facebook he was commenting about how yummy our cookies look. I offered to make him some bear cookies but he didn’t want to come to into the shop. So I offered to do a coloring event at The Painted Cookie. Kids and Adults can stop in Saturday from 1-4 p.m. and select a shape to color and all the money and supplies donated will go to the Wilton Bear to deliver to the Wilton Food Pantry.

GMW:  Mr. Bear is quite the mystery man. Have you met him?

The Painted Cookie:  I have not, although I do look out for him at the back of the Cookie Shop parking lot since it is so close to the NRVT, I thought I might get a glimpse of him but I haven’t yet. I am hoping after this event I can get a bear hug from him.

GMW:  Why is it important to you that this benefits the Food Pantry?

The Painted Cookie:  Wilton Bear and I discussed it and decided since we were doing a food event, that it would be nice to be able to share food with others who might need some assistance. People can come across a rough patch in their lives and need a hand to help them through it. That is what we are hoping to do–to lend a hand or a paw from a friendly Wilton Bear to our Wilton neighbors.