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One of the questions I get when people find out I make Memory Bears has to do with how to people request the bears and how do they get materials to a volunteer to be sewn together.
The most important part of the form in my opinion is where the requester fills in who they are, who it's in memory of, what their relationship is to the deceased person and what the garment means to them. This gives the volunteer a little knowledge about the person they are honoring and it's very special to know. I have made bears for special dads, loving moms, brothers and sisters. As I make them, I feel the emotion they have for their loved one and I have the desire to make this unique bear as special as possible for that person. I know they loved the living soul and I want them to feel that love when they hold their bear. I imagine all the volunteers feel this way when they make a bear. It's a sacred thing.
The staff at the office put the fabric(s) and request forms in a plastic bag and place them in a closet. They are put in the order they are received with the oldest one on
After a bear is completed (and we try to do that within a few weeks of picking up the makings), the staff checks them in (remember the form we started with!) and processes them for delivery or pickup. They check them over to make sure they are ready and sometimes have to do a little repair work. This is why we return all the scraps, too! Then they tie a bow around the bear's neck with a tag that says who the bear was made for and the first name of the person who made the bear. They wrap it up in blue tissue paper and lovingly place in the bag to go home. Along with the bear is a beautiful card and an envelope offering the person the opportunity to make a donation to Sharp Hospice if they are so inclined. The bears are made at no charge and the donation is purely voluntary. Donations go towards supplies to make more bears!
Soon I will ask a few other volunteers to share their stories about making these bears. I find inspiration from those who started this long before I did.
I know a few people who have been the recipient of a Memory Bear and I'd like to share with you how they feel about the bear they have. I have heard a few stories and they are heartwarming They help me know for sure I am doing something worthwhile and helping make memories last forever.
For More Information
Sharp HospiceCare offers a training session for prospective volunteers. To learn more, please call the Sharp HospiceCare Volunteer Services Department at 619-667-1900 or visit Volunteer With Sharp HospiceCare.
To find a Sharp-affiliated physician, search for San Diego doctors or call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277), Monday through Friday, 8 am to 6 pm. To find general information about hospice care, read the Home Care and Hospice News archive.