Memory Bear Project

Memory Bear Project

Barnabas Health Hospice offers a wonderful service to families that helps preserve the memory of a loved one – the Bear Hugs program.

Through the Bear Hugs program, at your request, our team will handcraft a Memory Bear from one of your loved one's garments.

The Bear Hugs program is made possible through the generosity of donors and volunteers. For more information about the program, or to make a donation, contact the Barnabas Health Hospice Development Department at 973-370-8134 or email

About Memory Bears

"Memory Bears" can be made from almost any sturdy, medium-weight fabric, including:

  • Velour (i.e. warm-up suit)
  • Flannel pajamas, nightgowns or lightweight robes
  • Cotton from a blouse or dress shirt
  • T-shirts, knit or polo shirts
  • Lightweight jeans

Your Memory Bear:

  • Will be approximately 20" high.
  • Takes about 16 weeks to complete. A representative from Barnabas Health Hospice will contact you when your Memory Bear is complete. All Bears must be picked up in either our West Orange or Long Branch office.

Important Notes

  • Garments should be able to yield one yard of useable fabric. This should be about the size of a large shirt.
  • Knitted sweaters should be avoided.
  • All items must be laundered or dry cleaned to ensure the safety of our staff and volunteers. Any clothing that does not meet these criteria will be returned.
  • Unused fabric and scraps will be discarded.
  • A maximum of four memory bears may be crafted per family.
  • Custom requests, such as specific design layouts, cannot be honored.

To Request a Memory Bear

To request a Memory Bear, complete the information below and send it, along with the selected clothing, to:

Barnabas Health Hospice
Volunteer Department
The Memory Bear Project
80 Main Street, 2nd Floor
West Orange, New Jersey 07052

  • Loved One's Name
  • Your Name
  • Address
  • Phone
  • E-mail

I would like unused material returned to me. Yes No

Frequently Asked Questions

I'm concerned about the garment losing its special scent. Does it have to be cleaned?

Yes. Due to the health and safety of our staff and volunteers all garments must be laundered prior to delivery. Perhaps dry cleaning would be a better option for your garment if machine washing is too harsh.

How long does it take a volunteer to handcraft a Memory Bear?

While every project is unique, on average it takes approximately 8 to 10 hours to complete.

How much does a Memory Bear cost?

The Bear Hugs program is sustained, in part, through donations from Bear recipients. All donations are acknowledged for tax purposes. Please consider making a donation, to help sustain this meaningful program.

If my loved one was not cared for by Barnabas Health Hospice, can I still request a bear?

Yes. All members of the community are welcome to request a Memory Bear. As part of our commitment to help support those who are grieving, we also offer bereavement support groups and programs throughout the year. If you are interested in learning more, please contact the Bereavement Department at 973-370-8119.