The B.E.A.R Closet stands for
Baby Equipment And Resource Closet.
Our goal is to help families who need some extra assistance to take care of their babies. We help supply them with the basic necessities a baby needs early in life. We also serve to connect these families to resources in the community that they may not have known about.
Jesus taught us to love the little children. This is what guides our work as we seek to improve the lives of families living at or below the poverty level who have children or are expecting. We give. We work. We help.
Please take a moment to learn more about us.
Maybe we can help you.
Maybe you can help.
Betty McPherson, Myra Rankin and Emilie Williams of Cummings Memorial UMC B.E.A.R. Closet
According to census data,
the poverty rate in the
Buncombe County school
district has increased
Resources available through the different B.E.A.R. Closets vary. Below is a partial list, some with links to more information for some. Ask the volunteers at each location which resources they offer.
Assistance with prescriptions, medical bills, and emergencies.
Department of Social Services
Buncombe Co. Health Center
Child Abuse Prevention
Nutrition for infants/children, domestic violence
Equipment available from the B.E.A.R Closet cover many of the critical needs for newborns, young babies and their families. Most clothes and consumables are freely given. Other items are loaned, with most families returning them as soon as they are outgrown. We also offer car seats for loan and for sale. Availability varies at each location, but here's a typical list of items.
Our clients come to us in need.
We serve them by offering anything and everything we can to help. Most of the items are available at no cost. Some items are for sale at reduced cost.
• Diaper bags
• Bath tubs
• Pack and Plays
• Table boosters
• Potty seats
• High chairs
• Bouncy seats
• Sippy cups
• Baby bottles
• Outlet covers
is turned away.
Can we help you?
Our BEAR Closet locations help low income families and expectant parents living at or below poverty level and struggling to provide for their babies and children from premies to age 6. The process is easy and can be completed in a few minutes at any location while they're open. The typical information we need to get started is simple. View or download the form from the link on the right to see what info we would like from you.
When you first come to a B.E.A.R. Closet, we ask that you help us learn a little about your needs. Each location uses the same form so keep a copy of yours. It may be helpful if you visit more than one location.
We often meet people who've been referred to us by others, including health departments, Asheville Pregnancy Support, ABCCM, the 211 help line and by friends who spread the word.
If you need us, we're here to help.
Download this form ahead of your visit and it will give you an idea of the info we need from you.
Can you help us?
We are always looking for volunteers at any of the BC locations. If you want to give back, we more than welcome your help. Many of the clients we've served over the years return to help because they know what its like to be in need and to have help available. Its kind of like returning a blessing.
See our Want to help? page for more volunteer info or just give us a call.
The B.E.A.R. Closet locations have served over
1st and 3rd Wednesdays
10am – 2pm
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1418 Patton Ave
Asheville, NC 28806
Cummings Memorial UMC
3 Banner Farm Road
Horse Shoe, NC 28759
1st and 3rd Thursdays
1 pm – 5pm
East Asheville United Methodist
48 Browndale Road
East Asheville, NC 28805
2nd and 4th Mondays
4 pm – 6pm
2 Laura Jackson Road
Fairview, NC 28730
1st and 3rd Mondays
3 pm – 7pm
Snow Hill UMC
84 Snow Hill Church Rd.
Candler, NC 28715
Tuesdays 1 pm – 5 pm
Fund raising success:
Simple ideas for raising money are often the most successful. Mike Davis had one of those ideas when he put labels on baby bottles and offered them to our congregation to fill with loose change. It's the kind of idea that can be done over and over again. If your church would like to support the B.E.A.R. Closet with something that easy, give Mike a call at 254.2612.
Have a baby shower
It worked for Cummings Memorial UMC. Any organization or church can do one and request donations of items and money. Plan it, organize it and let your community know the when, what and where and especially the why.
Volunteering for B.E.A.R. Closet
Over the years the B.E.A.R. Closet has operated with the help of incredible caring and hard working volunteers and donations. Each location operates with friends from the sponsor churches. They do product organizing, equipment cleaning, clothes mending and washing and they help find the items each client needs. These networks of friends include groups from corporations, High Schools and community organizations like:
If your group is looking for a way to help on a local level, and can spare even a few hours, what better cause than to help young families in need find resources like the B.E.A.R. Closet.
Monetary donations are tax deductible and a tremendous help. Contact any of the three locations to make a donation and any amount is ok. If you think your company would like to support BC, either with a monetary donation, by giving goods or volunteering, we welcome the help! And, we return it to your community many times over.
One way to help is to sponsor a fund raiser. Some examples are listed on the left here. If you are already involved in a regular fund raising event, consider adding BC as a recipient.
Having a yard sale? Just want to get rid of some gently used stuff your kids have out grown? Let any of the locations know. We will schedule a drop off time.
Volunteers and donors:
The following organizations are sponsors and donors of gifts and money for Snow Hill BEAR Closet and other BC locations:
Asheville Mothers of Multiples
Candler House of Prayer
Central UMC UMW
Civil Design Concepts
Davis Chapel UMC
District UMC Secretaries
Eastern Star, Electra Chapter
Enka-Candler Fire Dept.
Enka-Candler Friends of the Library
Erwin Hills Baptist Church
Francis Asbury UMC
Givens Estates Residents
Hominy Valley UMM
Jubilee Comm. Church
Locust Grove Baptist Church
Montmorenci UMC UMW
Piney Mtn. UMC
Pleasant Hill UMC Children
Reeves Chapel UMC
Snow Hill UMC
Whitt Motor Sales
LifeMinistries is an LLC and outreach program of Givens Estates Retirement Community that walks alongside churches to identify congregational and community needs and then provides guidance in developing programs and outreach ministries to meet those needs. There is a wellness focus on prevention through education, counseling, preventative screenings, health fairs, nutrition programs and growing vital outreach ministries.
2360 Sweeten Creek Road
Asheville, NC 28803
Contact Cheryl Wallen
A visit to a baby loan closet in Boone, NC in 2006 was inspiration for us! It was clear that the need was too great in our area to ignore. Jesus taught us to love the little children and so the next 5 months were spent getting ready to serve families in need. We were blessed with donations and help from Life Ministries of the Givens Estates. Later that year, we opened to serve clients from Buncombe and surrounding counties including health departments, Asheville Pregnancy Support, ABCCM,and from word of mouth. Many social workers bring clients or come on their behalf. Today we have five locations serving hundreds of families and - our greatest gifts - those little children Jesus taught us to love so much.
For more information or help starting a Baby Equipment and Resource Closet at your church contact Cheryl Wallen at 771-2638 or 230-1071
Meet some of our key closet volunteer managers- Click their kid photo for the full bio.
Cheryl Wallen, BSN, RN, Faith Community Nurse
Mike Davis - Abernethy UMC and Retired School teacher.
Susie Pike - Snow Hill UMC and BC volunteer since 2006
David Stovall - East Asheville UMC BC volunteer.
Useful tools for promoting and educating your community about your B.E.A.R. Closet.
You can download files to print that will help get the word out about you and any event you may be planning to support your B.E.A.R. Closet. Click on the images to download:
Brochures you can keep at the church for the congregation or visitors.
Small cards can be given to potential clients or to donors. One for each location.
Smaller signs also for outside a B.E.A.R. Closet. 24 x 18.
Banners that can be printed and displayed outside your location. One for each location. 60x30.
If you have a need for other materials, contact us we will work with you to prepare the files needed so you can send them to the printer. Think ahead though. Some materials may take from 1 week to a month to produce. Many publications ask for artwork up to a month ahead of printing for ads, for example.
News events and info about The B.E.A.R. Closet.
Updated periodically. If you have news you'd like to share here, please send us an email.
BEAR Closet and Food Lion partner to feed 50 families at Christmas
On the first and third Wednesdays of October the Abernethy UMC BEAR Closet Team began asking parents one additional question during their interview. "If there was one thing we could do to help you during Christmas what would it be?" Their answers were diverse but the one thing that filtered to the top of the list consistently was their need for food. Abernethy's Missions group's leader Ashley discussed how that could be accomplished and decided that maybe we could partner with one of the grocery stores in the community. The group applied for assistance from Food Lion and we began waiting for their reply. They told us that it would be December before we would know.
At that time we didn’t know how much Food Lion would be able to help or if they would help at all. But Abernethy's Missions group decided to step out in faith and committed to helping fifty families. A list of food items was made and price shopping started in order to fill the food baskets/totes. It was determined that it would cost approximately $1200.00. Because of the narrow window between the delivery date of December 16th and a possible acceptance/rejection of our request during the first week in December it was decided to ask the congregation for help. Groups and individuals in the church almost overnight committed money. The response was amazing!
Ashley received a positive response from Kristen Callaway with the Food Lion’s corporate offices. They had just announced a streamlined focus for their Community Relations programs around hunger relief. Through their new program they are aiming to donate 500 million meals to families, children, seniors and schools in order to support those in communities who are food insecure.
We were asked to contact Richard Pegg, the store manager, at West Ridge in Candler. He gave us a list of food items that they would be providing and he generously added fifty prepared food boxes from his store to what corporate had donated. The donations from the congregation were used to purchase the additional items needed to make fifty families very happy during Christmas. Richard and his staff loaded Mike Walker’s truck. Mike, Mead and Nelson unloaded the truck on Saturday and “Santa’s helpers” stuffed the bags on Sunday after church.
Caption: Thank you for the many gifts given at the birthday party for Jesus. The BEAR Closet also gave out new sippy cups, socks, underwear, diapers, wipes, pants, pajamas, coats, hats and gloves on January 6th! It was a wonderful way to celebrate His birth and to share His love with others in a much needed and practical way.
That gives you an idea of the timeline and activities that made this event possible. More importantly it’s an example of the dedication, love, and caring spirit of God’s people. Your contributions of time, talent and financial support were overwhelming. We thank you on behalf of those moms, dads, and children that were the recipients of God’s joy in the form of a very “stuffed’ food tote. Additional volunteers had the opportunity to “walk and talk” as they distributed and helped carry bags to our neighbors cars. The parking lot was full! Toys were also given out and the parents and children enjoyed holiday refreshments. Connections were made and relationships continue to grow through this B.E.A.R. Closet ministry.
Please continue to pray as we begin a new year of service!
The BEAR Closet is sponsoring a diaper drive from September 27th through October 11th.
Please help us stock our shelves with critically-needed diapers and wipes for our neighborhood kids. We meet with 25 to 35 moms, dads, or grandparents each time we are open.
Infants use 6 to 10 diapers a day, which can be an overwhelming financial strain for parents. The cost for diapers can quickly approach $1000.00 a year. Babies without access to clean diapers can develop health risks that can influence development later in life. Children with dirty diapers are also more likely to be abused.
A big need for our young families. In the first six months of 2015 we saw approximately 400 parents, 500 kids and gave away 4000+ diapers!
Please help us help our neighbors by providing diapers and wipes or a monetary donation.
Checks may be written to BEAR Closet Abernethy UMC. Diaper donations may be brought by the church during the week or bring them on Sunday October 11th. For more info contact us at email@example.com with your questions.
New Community Outreach Benefits East Asheville Families with Children
B.E.A.R. Closet (Baby Equipment And Resource Closet)
Beginning Monday, July 13, 2015, the Baby Equipment and Resource Closet (B.E.A.R) at East Asheville United Methodist Church will begin a new outreach ministry in the local community. This ministry will serve low income families and expectant parents struggling to care for their families. The B.E.A.R. Closet will provide free gently used clothing (sizes infant to 4 toddler), shoes, and baby equipment such as strollers, high chairs, swings, pack n’ plays, bouncy seats, bathing and hygiene products, bedding items, as well as loving encouragement to expecting moms and parents. The outreach will be open the second and fourth Mondays of every month from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and is located at 48 Browndale Road, across from the V.A. Medical Center.
According to the 2012 NC Justice Center statistics, 26% of Buncombe County children live in poverty (1 in 5), and 36% live in single parent households. The poverty rate has increased 85% since 2001. “We wanted to respond to these statistics and recognized that the B.E.A.R. Closet outreach ministry and our mission statement, ‘In Christ’s name we share our love with families,’ was the perfect platform to meet needs and be in community with our neighbors,” states Annalee Allen, Pastor at East Asheville United Methodist Church.
There will be a Community Baby Shower to support the opening of the B.E.A.R. Closet on Saturday, June 27th from 9:00 a.m. to noon, where East Asheville neighbors and local community agencies can drop off donations of baby clothes, diapers, activity gear and equipment, baby bottles, hygiene products and other clean, gently used items. There will be volunteers to unload donations and free breakfast items provided. Monetary donations are also welcomed. For more information call (828) 298-3211.
New Community Outreach Benefits Fairview Families with Children
Beginning Monday, June 1, 2015, the Baby Equipment and Resource Closet (B.E.A.R) at Fairview-Sharon United Methodist Church will be the first outreach ministry of its kind in Fairview serving low income families and expectant parents living at or below poverty level and struggling to provide for their families. The B.E.A.R. Closet will offer free gently used clothing (sizes premies to 5 toddler), shoes, baby equipment such as strollers, high chairs, swings, pack n’ plays, bouncy seats, bathing and hygiene products, bedding items, as well as loving encouragement to expecting moms and parents. The outreach will be open the first and third Mondays of every month from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and is located off Highway 74 at 2 Laura Jackson Road, across from Fairview Elementary School and the Food Lion Shopping Center.
The B.E.A.R. Closet of Fairview is a faith community partnership between three United Methodist Churches; Fairview Sharon, Nesbitt’s Chapel, and Bethany United Methodist Church. According to the 2012 NC Justice Center statistics, 26% of Buncombe County children live in poverty (1 in 5), and 36% live in single parent households. The poverty rate has increased 85% since 2001. “Together we recognized a need in our community and an opportunity to meet that need in a practical way that reaches out to build relationships with families, strengthens our community, and shares our faith,” exclaims Craig Allen, pastor at Fairview Sharon where the B.E.A.R. Closet is located.
There will be a Community Baby Shower to support the opening of the B.E.A.R. Closet on Saturday, May 16th, from 8:00 a.m. to noon, where Fairview residents and local community agencies can drop off donations of baby clothes, diapers, equipment and other items. There will be volunteers to unload donations and free breakfast items provided. Monetary donations are also welcomed. For more information contact Marie at 242-6166.