Prayer Bears Bring Joy to Women’s Shelter

By Marchel Alverson

To children whose home lives are in turmoil, something as small as a stuffed animal can represent comfort and peace of mind. Often, a simple stuffed bear becomes the only security they can tangibly hold on to. That’s why each child finding shelter at Hope House receives a welcome gift that includes a stuffed toy. Thanks to the Silent Unity® Prayer Bear Ministry, Unity World Headquarters at Unity Village now plays a part in providing that warm welcome.

Silent Unity is collecting new teddy bears to be donated to the women with children at Hope House.

The prayer bear ministry is in its second year. This past year, 60 bears were collected and delivered to Hope House in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, thanks to the generous donations of employees at Unity. Once collected, prayer associates spend about a day volunteering their time to ready the bears by placing special Prayer Bear tags onto them that read, “A Prayer Bear Just for You!”

For extra assurance, bears allocated for Hope House are placed in the Prayer Room and Silent Unity Prayer Vigil Chapel to be “prayed up” during the two-week collection time frame.

“Our Prayer Associates love the bears,” said Rev. Gail Dobert, director of Silent Unity. “Sometimes it’s hard to let them go because it gives the area such a sense of sweetness. We really missed them after they were gone this past year, but we know they are going toward such a worthy cause.”

Next year, Dobert hopes to expand the Prayer Bear program to shelters in nearby Kansas City. For now, she is more than happy with the ministry the bears provide to Hope House, and the women’s shelter is genuinely appreciative of all the efforts taking place.

“When women come to the shelter with children, it can be very scary for the kids. Coming into the Hope House can also be a stressful time for a child. We do our best to make them feel at home,” said Katie Long, Lee’s Summit shelter director. “Most of the time, the family has to leave their belongings behind, and that means leaving behind toys and beloved stuffed animals children rely on for comfort.

“For kids, getting a new friend can help,” added Long. “Prayer Bears provide comfort for many children at Hope House as they begin a new life, free from violence.”