Build-A-Bear

 Miss Gay USofA Newcomer Pageant

We all know how much our reigning National Titleholder, Domita Sanchez, loves the bears! During her reign this year, in addition to regularly volunteering at a local counseling center in Des Moines which provides free HIV testing along with education for people living with HIV/AIDS on how to maintain an active & healthy lifestyle, Domita will be turning her love for bears into a platform to help at-risk children not only in her home State of Iowa, but across the Nation. Domita is championing her “DOMITA4BEARS” slogan by collecting dressed and accessorized Build-A-Bears to be donated to organizations that specifically work with homeless and/or under-privileged children, children who are the victims of abuse and/or neglect, children who are born with HIV and children who may have suffered either emotional distress over a certain situation or physical trauma due to an accident or incident. Domita is currently in the process of choosing a local charitable or non-profit organization that meets these requirements in Des Moines, Iowa where she resides and has also contacted the Build-A-Bear “Bear Hugs Foundation” in hopes of identifying a couple of National charitable or non-profit organizations that she can donate bears to that are collected during her reign. The chosen organizations will be named sometime prior to her step down.

What can you do to help, you ask? You can join the DOMITA4BEARS CLUB and help Domita by going to your local Build-A-Bear store and building a bear or two and dressing & accessorizing it/them (male and female bears as well as gender non-specific bears are needed). Each bear comes with its own birth certificate, but we ask that the bears not be named and the birth certificates remain blank so that the recipient of each bear gets the honor of naming their own bear. We also ask that only bears be purchased (there’s at least 20-25 styles to choose from) rather than any of the other types of stuffed friends offered for purchase, hence “DOMITA4BEARS”. Please pass this along to your family and friends and ask them to go out and also purchase a bear or two and dress & accessorize it/them. If there is a qualifying prelim to Miss Gay USofA Newcomer in your area, the bears may be given to the Promoter of that preliminary, who will make sure the donation gets to Domita.  A special recognition, the "Golden Bear", will be given at Nationals to the prelim that has the most bears donated on its behalf. Build-A-Bears donated after a prelim is held will still be counted toward the special recognition, as long as the prelim is identified with the donation.

Everyone who purchases a Build-A-Bear to be donated should keep their original sales receipt. This is considered a charitable donation and the cost does qualify as tax deductible. For those of you who want to donate a bear or two, but don’t have a local Build-A-Bear store to visit, you can go online to www.buildabear.com and create your own custom bear(s) to purchase and have them ship the bear(s) to you. The website often runs sales and special promotions that aren’t available in stores and has bear types as well as clothing and accessories that have been discontinued for sale at a huge discount. Some of these bears also already come dressed in outfits and accessorized. Plus, the website offers free shipping on all orders $45 and over. A well-versed shopper would be able to purchase two ready-to-donate bears online for the price of one in the stores, so do consider that. The kids are not going to know the difference between receiving a $20 bear versus a $35-$40 bear. All they will know is they have a friend of their very own to name and play with. It’s our hope that this token of generosity on behalf of everyone who donates a Build-A-Bear to Domita’s campaign will help these children get through the rough time in their childhood that they’re currently going through. We’re not setting a goal of a certain number of Build-A-Bears to collect, but obviously, we are hoping to collect a significant number of them in order to make a few sizable donations during Domita’s reign. Holiday-themed and special occasion bears (such as Christmas, Valentines Day and Birthdays) should be avoided, because the recipient may not receive the donated bear in conjunction with that time of year or a specific timed event. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact Domita or myself. Thank you all for your generosity and participation in the DOMITA4BEARS CLUB! 

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