Find answers to all of your questions about BEAR, how to donate, and how to volunteer below. Click here for public documents and information.
Questions About Us
What is BEAR?
BEAR is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit whose mission is to provide hope and help to the abused and neglected children of Harris County and the caseworkers who protect them. We serve children in active CPS cases year round through our four major programs: BEAR Necessities, BEAR Graduation Celebration, BEAR Back to School and BEARing Gifts.
What is a BEAR Room?
Our BEAR Rooms are emergency supply rooms for abused and neglect children in Harris County. Often times children are brought into CPS care with soiled clothing and/or no food in their stomachs. BEAR Rooms are here to respond to those needs. Our staff ensures that each room is fully stocked with formula, diapers, shoes, clothing, snacks, toys and stuffed animals to meet a child’s immediate needs.
Is BEAR a part of CPS (Child Protective Services)?
In short the answer is no. Thanks to our partnership with the Department of Family and Protective Services and Harris County Protective Services, BEAR is able to verify specific details to ensure active CPS cases are being served through our BEAR Rooms. Anything beyond demographical information remains confidential and unknown to BEAR.
Where are the BEAR Rooms located?
We have 8 BEAR Rooms throughout Harris County. Our BEAR Rooms are located within CPS buildings for the convenience of the caseworkers. Caseworkers are free to visit any of the BEAR Rooms and complete the necessary documentation to retrieve emergency items for active CPS cases.
Who can get items from the BEAR Rooms?
Only CPS staff is allowed to check inventory out of any BEAR Room. Each room has inventory forms that require specific information pertaining to each case. These forms detail which items are being taken from the BEAR Room to serve children in active cases.
Are foster parents able to get items from BEAR Rooms?
Only CPS staff and children involved in active CPS cases are allowed inside the BEAR Room. If you have any immediate needs or requests please contact your caseworker.
Where does BEAR get items for the BEAR Rooms?
BEAR receives items through the Junior League of Houston buyers, community partners such as Vans Stores and New Balance, community donations, drives and shopping done thanks to funds contributed to our Annual Fund and BEAR Necessities program.
Can I report child abuse to BEAR or its staff?
Though we serve children in active CPS cases we are not CPS. If you know of any cases of child abuse or neglect please report them by calling 1-800-252-5400 or online at www.TxAbuseHotline.org 24 hours/7 days a week.
To find out how you can help the abused and neglected children in Harris County click here.
Questions About Donations
How is BEAR funded?
BEAR is funded through a variety of sources including individual donors, grants, foundations and group/company donations.
What percentage of my donation goes to the staff’s salary?
We are proud to say that 90% of all proceeds go directly to programs. Thanks to our unique public/private partnership salaries and overhead are paid by Harris County and DFPS.
How can I donate to BEAR?
You can donate to BEAR online by clicking here or mailing a check to our address as listed below:
P.O. Box 27701-501
Houston, Texas 77227
BEAR also accepts in-kind donations from varying individuals/groups/organizations. To find out how you can host a toy drive, contact our Operations Coordinator, Michelle Searles, at email@example.com.
What items do you need the most?
Unfortunately, the highest populations served through the BEAR Rooms are infants through age eleven. Our most needed items include formula, diapers, bibs, undergarments, shoes and clothing. We accept NEW items which are immediately put to use in our 8 BEAR Rooms throughout Harris County.
Why does BEAR only accept new items?
The children served through our BEAR Rooms are often first time owners of something new providing them with hope and help throughout their journey. Additionally, in an effort to avoid allergic reactions and due to our limitation in staff, we are unable to screen each gently used donation. We appreciate every donation but do request ONLY NEW items please.
How do I start a donation drive?
To set up a donation drive contact our Operations Coordinator, Michelle Searles at firstname.lastname@example.org to check drop off availability and receive suggestions.
General Tips Are:
- Select an item(s) to collect. Our biggest need includes all baby items (formula, diapers, bibs, etc.)
- Spread the word to friends, family, co-workers and neighbors about the drive by either posting to social media, flyers, emails etc.
- Remind donors that all items must be new.
- Schedule a start and end date of collection
- Have a central area as drop off locations
- Contact BEAR at (713) 940-3087 with a date to drop off the items at our warehouse.
Questions About Volunteering
Does BEAR have any volunteer opportunities that allow contact with children?
Due to privacy and confidentiality issues we are unable to offer volunteer opportunities that allow contact with children under the age of 18 years old. Our BEAR Graduation Celebration, which takes place between May and June, is the only program where CPS children may be present to receive their gifts as we celebrate their achievements in obtaining their G.E.D or high school diploma.
How can I volunteer with BEAR?
If you are interested in volunteering at BEAR please complete our contact form detailing your interests and which program you would like to participate in. Our biggest volunteer opportunities occur in the month of December for our BEARing Gifts, holiday program. There are also smaller volunteer opportunities throughout the year within our BEAR Graduation Celebration and BEAR Back to School programs. Learn more about each program by clicking here.