Built With Love was founded to comfort children battling physical or emotional trauma. This is done by delivering individually created Build-a-Bears to local institutions that care for children in need.
The idea for the organization began in 2011 when my wife and I began following the story of a local boy battling cancer. Seeing how this disease affected his family and our entire community was heartbreaking, though he was always in the highest spirits. Children find comfort in things that are familiar, and for us that was portrayed in a stuffed animal. My wife and I went out and bought 20 Build-a-Bears, made 20 birth certificates for the bears, and bought 20 boxes of crayons (for the kids to color their bear homes). We delivered these to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia a couple weeks before Christmas with the hope that the children would appreciate a feeling of home while being in the hospital through the holidays. The little boy, Christian, who was battling the whole time, passed away the following February and really pushed us to want to do more.
We have been able to grow each year with increasing support and donations from our community. In our second year, we increased our donation total to 144 bears, our third year to 255, and our fourth year we donated 427 bears. And the support doesn’t stop there. Since we had an abundance of increased donations, we expanded our deliveries to include: the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Ronald McDonald House of Philadelphia, Ronald McDonald House of Camden, the Gift of Life Donor House, St. Christopher’s Hospital, the Division of Youth and Family Services, the Women’s Center and a few local families having difficult times.
We are reaching out to our community in hope of keeping the momentum going and keeping the holiday spirit alive. We plan to again deliver as many bears as we can to all the institutions that value our support. We get numerous letters of thanks and appreciation for brightening up a child’s day, and we couldn’t do it without the donations we receive.
Built With Love is a nonprofit corporation and 501(c)(3) charity.
It feels amazing to be able to contribute to a variety of locations, all providing support to children and families in need. If you’re able and willing to help out, here are some ways to do so.
Build-a-bears can be purchased online and sent directly to our house at: Built with Love, 28 Shoreline Road, Egg Harbor Township, NJ 08234.
Monetary donations that will be used to support this effort can be done via:
• Check made out to Built with Love and sent to the address above
• Paypal (email@example.com)
• Venmo (@builtwithlove)