Sanford community puts warm fuzzies into Teddy Bear Den

Volunteers' love, gifts encourage pregnant moms in need

Teddy Bear Den helps pregnant women in need, from teens to older moms.

Some of the biggest beneficiaries of community partnerships with Sanford Health are local non-profit organizations. One such group is the Teddy Bear Den, whose mission is to inspire healthy living among economically disadvantaged pregnant women.

Located inside Calvary Episcopal Cathedral in downtown Sioux Falls, Teddy Bear Den began partnering with Sanford in 1997. The relationship started with Sanford employees who served on the Teddy Bear Den board and volunteered their time.

In addition to volunteers and donations, Sanford Health now also provides physicians and clinic services to program participants.

“To have Sanford Health as part of our program is huge,” said Sandy Lown, Teddy Bear Den executive director. “They are a major representative in our community. For us, having input and assistance from outside is a huge help to our program.”

Teddy Bear Den opened in 1996 to encourage pregnant women to seek early and regular prenatal care. They collaborate with 296 health care providers, clinics, social service agencies, schools and treatment centers to teach and provide incentives for expectant moms.

Teddy Bear Den is about people

“For us, the dollars are important, obviously,” Lown said. “But it isn’t just all about the money. It has to be about the people that make your program work. The people that attend your events, and the health care providers that are making referrals and signing books, and are committed to our program. Without that commitment, the Teddy Bear Den wouldn’t exist.”

Sanford Health sponsors Teddy Bear Den’s two largest fundraisers: Stogeez Steakout and Celebrity Night Out. Celebrity Night Out alone raises over half of the group’s annual budget.

“They (Sanford Health) bring in the correct people and bring in the energy and enthusiasm to our events,” Lown said. “I could go on and on. They rallied the troops to come behind us and be all excited about our program — from both sides — both the health care and the volunteer sides.”

Lown attributes the partnership’s success to the willingness of Sanford Health to help out.

“No matter what we are in need of, when we go to Sanford they are committed and they say yes,” she said. “Whether it’s financial help, help on a project, volunteerism, no matter what we come to them with, they are committed to us.”

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Posted In Community, Pregnancy

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