In recognition for sixty years of the Stark Community Foundation, the SCF is giving the amazing opportunity for six non-profit organizations to win $10,000 to start an Endowment Fund. One of these non-profits in the running is our very own Brooks’ Bereavement Bears.
Brooks’ Bereavement Bears gives stuffed teddy bears to mothers who are experiencing miscarriages. Founded in 2022, Taylor Prelac started this non-profit because of her own miscarriage in April of 2020. She lost her pregnancy during the COVID-19 pandemic and had to face the initial stage of the loss alone in the hospital, as nobody was allowed to be with her. She received a bereavement bear after her miscarriage from a loved one and was inspired to help others through this act of kindness.
“I wanted to give a bereavement gift for moms who are going through the same things I went through. I want them to know that they are not alone,” Taylor explained.
With over 200 bears given to mothers, Taylor has touched and decorated every single bear. She buys the bears from the novelty store, DEMDACO. Each bear is $16. After the bears arrive, she ties a little heart tag with blue and pink ribbon onto the bear. She personally prints the tag out and cuts each individual heart shape. The tag reads:
“Dear friend, you are not alone.
My heart aches for any woman who loses her baby. Part of my grieving and honoring my heavenly child is giving this teddy bear to you.
Please hold onto me when you need comforting.”
“The bears mean something to me. It is perfect for someone who needs a bear hug.” Taylor said.
After a long day at work and after putting her son to bed, she is often up until midnight working on the bears. Aultman Hospital asked her to make fifteen more bears for the month of July. Taylor does not hire anyone to help her; she uses her own time, money, and compassion to make these bears a comfort for women in the community.
“I want the bears to be perfect for moms,” Taylor explained. “I make sure the hearts and the ribbons on the bears are cut perfectly. If I am organized, ten to fifteen bears will take an hour and a half. If it is a day where it is difficult to be organized, the bears will take at least two hours.”
When the Six for 60: Endowment Fund Challenge was announced from the SCF, Taylor was very excited and hopeful for the future of Brooks’ Bereavement Bears, as it would cement the non-profit further into the Stark community.
“This would be lifechanging. $10,000 would buy 625 bears for moms. Three years of bears would be funded.”
The financial assistance would greatly help Taylor and her mission, especially since hospitals in Stark County are continuing to ask for bears, and other areas have begun to reach out to Taylor as well.
“On September 10th, Aultman Hospital is holding a remembrance service. I am hoping to have 200 bears at that service to give to grieving parents,” Taylor said.
In just a few short months, Brooks’ Bereavement Bears has made a positive imprint in the Canton community, and we are incredibly hopeful and grateful for the opportunities to reach more mothers. For our non-profit to continue to grow, we need your help.
Brooks’ Bereavement Bears is a finalist in the Six for 60: Endowment Fund Challenge. We are in the Human Services category. You can vote for us! You do not need to be a citizen of Stark County, either! Here is how to vote:
- Go through the Stark Community Foundation Website (https://www.starkcf.org/)
- Voting begins July 10th and ends August 10th.
- Voting is open to anyone with a valid email address.
- You can only vote once a day, but you can vote every day leading up to August 10th!
If you are unable to vote, that is okay! The best way to help us is through word of mouth about the bears, and reaching out if you or someone you love needs a bear. We are here for you.
Good luck to all the non-profits involved in the Six for 60: Endowment Fund Challenge! We are excited and honored to be alongside you in our community!
To vote for us starting July 10th, click here: https://www.starkcf.org/.
We are having a fundraiser at an Akron Rubber Ducks game on July 22nd @ 7:00 PM! You can buy tickets here: https://fevogm.com/event/Brooksbereavement?fbclid=IwAR04W54b5j_exz-QRiIEXHcu-XC1wYLTuL9U4PuXTaWNlr13a3609nJhs6o.
If you are interested in the website where Taylor buys the bears, click here: https://www.demdaco.com/?gclid=CjwKCAjwhdWkBhBZEiwA1ibLmK-63rQABA96GShMbTGRSMyitWx9emeBpJ11wvKylDY8AKDxhwc8bBoC9IoQAvD_BwE.
If you or someone you love needs a bereavement bear, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to share your story, please email us at email@example.com.