The Teddy Bear Den in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, has been offering financial assistance to limited income pregnant women since 1996.
Sanford Health has proudly been a partner for 18 years.
Teddy Bear Den’s mission
Sandy Lown is the Teddy Bear Den executive director. She says the non-profit is currently serving over 1,500 women in the Sioux Falls area, with one goal in mind; “healthier pregnancies, healthier babies, and to serve our community.”
“They still have jobs, their jobs just don’t pay enough. That’s what we’re here for, is to help them through those first two years with their child,” added Lown.
It’s an important service, which couldn’t be done without the support of health care providers like Sanford Health, says Lown.
“Health care providers make our system work. That is how the Teddy Bear Den works.”
Points = cash
Pregnant women are enrolled in the program through a health care provider’s referral. Once enrolled, blue books are administered, which acts as a form currency and point system.
Enrollees earn points for things like visits to the doctor, taking prenatal classes, and leading healthy lifestyles.
From there, they use those points to purchase needed items for their child from the Teddy Bear Den.
She says the two organizations work hand in hand to help limited income women, something Sanford Health takes pride in.
“Sanford wanted to be the example to endorse this type of program,” she said.
She’s also seen the positive effect of the partnership first hand.
“One of my patients, when I first met her, she was homeless. Literally living on the streets when I acquired her as a patient. After directing her to the Teddy Bear Den’s resources, as well as what we offered here at Sanford Women’s, she is now a single mom in college, about to graduate.
“She attributes most of her success to all of the efforts and resources in our community, and at Sanford Health,” said Dr. Fuller-Eddins.
Donations are critical
For the Teddy Bear Den to keep extending its helping hand, Lown says donations are critical.
“Everything (donated) turns around and goes right back to our moms.”
She says in a normal year, the Teddy Bear Den hosts an auction and celebrity night out, where people can bid on various packages. This year, organizers had to move the event to a virtual setting. But, more than ever, they’re asking for support.
“Last year we raised half of our yearly budget in one night. So, it’s a big event for us,” says Lown.
To find where to bid, visit the Teddy Bear Den’s website.
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