'Tis the season to be sharing, and what a better way to do it than to share with a cute bear. The FEED teddy bears came into being in 2009 with the simple mission to help severely malnourished children around the world while also teaching children here the importance of sharing. The bears are made by Teddy Share, which is a charitable teddy bear company started by my mom, Sharon Bush, in 2008, in partnership with FEED Projects, which is a company that I co-founded in 2007 with the mission to create good products that help FEED the world.
Growing up in Texas, my mom would take us to volunteer at soup kitchens, homeless shelters, and children's hospitals. These experiences made a lasting impression on me and my siblings as they exposed us to people going through tough times and taught us to be compassionate at a young age. At this same time, she started a charity of her own called Karitas to help homeless and abused children. One of her big fundraising partners at the time was Gund, who made a signature bear to help raise funds and awareness for her cause.
Years later, after FEED was started and gaining momentum, my mom suggested that FEED should make and sell teddy bears as part of our product offering. She thought that this would also be a good way to teach children at a young age about the value of giving to those less fortunate. Around the same time, I met Navyn Salem at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City. Navyn is the Executive Director of Edesia: Global Nutrition Solutions. Edesia is a nonprofit dedicated to treating and preventing malnutrition with ready-to-use foods and innovative nutrition solutions. Edesia's production includes a product called Plumpy'nut® that revolutionized the treatment of malnutrition in the developing world. Plumpy'nut®, which was invented by Nutriset in 1996, is an energy-dense paste made with peanuts, milk powder, sugar, vegetable oils, and a fortified vitamin and mineral mixture.
According to UNICEF, 8.8 million children under 5 years old die every year, and the underlying cause of nearly half those deaths is malnutrition and other hunger related issues. It is preventable. Plumpy'nut® is a lifesaving solution for those 4.4 million children who die needlessly every year.
Such shocking statistics are really unfathomable, especially to young kids who live in developed nations and are just beginning to learn about the world beyond their family, school, and friends. The FEED bears offer parents and children alike a way to give back in a measurable and meaningful way to help counter child hunger. With the purchase of every FEED three bear, three children are given Plumpy'nut®, and the FEED five bear provides Plumpy'nut® for five children.
The bears are made with eco-friendly materials and come with a hangtag, which includes an illustrated story of the FEED bears and how producing and feeding Plumpy'nut® to children in need around the world saves lives every day.
So this holiday season, we encourage everyone to be sharing, and shop responsibly with products that do-good for the world. In case you are interested in buying a FEED bear, Bergdorf Goodman is one of many retail stores carrying the bears or you can purchase online.