Each Friday, the another jennifer blog shares stories of those who incorporate philanthropy into their everyday lives – personally and professionally – in a creative and unique way. If you have a story you’d like to share, please contact Jennifer.
The following article is a guest post from Bridget Crews, the founder of Molly Bears.
I along with my husband Chris and sister-in-law Amanda, started Molly Bears in August of 2010. We lost our sweet Molly girl on May 30th 2010.
Before Molly died from a tight true knot in her cord, infant loss was a part of an entirely different world. I had 3 children, and I’d given birth to a surrogate baby.
This doesn’t happen to me or to people I love. When I was told, “I’m so sorry, but there is no heartbeat,” my world, simply put, crumbled.
I now saw life for what it had always been, delicate and fragile.
I was drowning in my sorrow. I needed to do something. I needed to make myself feel better, less helpless.
On June 28th 2010, I created, with my husband, children and Amanda, what would forever be the very first “Molly Bear.” I was able to breathe while holding her. I was able to sleep with her on my chest. I knew in my heart that our Molly was gently pushing us. She had been here for a purpose. She wanted us to help others.
Two weeks after creating Molly Bear, I started asking other ladies from my I Village still birth support group if they would like me to make them one. I had a few willing hearts, and I went right to work. We are a military family on a fixed budget. The first month, I had created and sent out 5 bears. Thinking back, I probably gave my husband a small heart attack. He supported me and loved me. He saw that what I was doing was helping me. It was helping our children as well. We were all “doing something” with our grief. We were helping others.
Then came August 2010. I woke up that morning knowing I wanted more. I needed to give more. I called my sister-in-law Amanda, whining about needing this to be different. Within a few hours she called me back with a plan. That night we were buying supplies. To say we jumped in feet first would be an understatement. We started out with $1500 dollars of our own money. Within the week, we had our business license, website and family and friends donating money so we could create and sent out weighted bears. Molly Bears was officially “born.”
It’s now been 2 1/2 years and, although we have come a long way, there is still such a long way to go. We now have 15 bear makers that are located all over the United States. We have a Board of Directors with 6 members. We have created over 3,000 bears. We have bears in all 50 states and 18 countries.
We all live and breathe Molly Bears everyday. I feel so blessed to be surrounded by our beautiful team, full of hard working, loving individuals. We all have shown our children, that although truly sad and terrible things may happen in life, we can take those things and turn them into something beautiful. We can support one another and truly make a difference in peoples lives.
Bridget Crews is the Founder and President of a 501(c)3 non-profit called Molly Bears. Molly Bears makes weighted teddy bears for families who have experienced any form of infant loss, free of charge.
If you would like to support Molly Bears, you can make a donation on their website. They also love donations of specialty buttons, ribbon and bows. Those interested in volunteering to help make the bears are encouraged to email Molly Bears directly.