Sioux Falls, SD
It's called Lasting Hugs and the name is quite appropriate. The company makes bears for families who are grieving the loss of a love one.
Lasting Hugs has been around for decades, but Jessica McCroskey has been making these bears for the last 13 years.
"It's got such a great purpose behind it. You’re creating something to give someone from something they have lost," McCroskey said.
McCroskey said she makes the bears out of clothing from a lost loved one and the custom bears can honor the person in anyway. She said they are something that can be held for years to come.
"I do embroidery on them so I can put their names and birth dates and I can put any type of message that you want on the teddy bear," McCroskey said.
After the tragic school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, McCroskey said she longed to help the families who lost loved ones.
"Having kids of my own in school it hit me straight to the heart," McCroskey said.
An emotional McCroskey said she is offering each family a grieving bear, free of charge, to help them mourn their tragic loss. She said they only need to send the clothes and she will do the rest.
"Empty clothes are empty and having a teddy bear gives you something to hold on to," McCroskey said.
Lasting Hugs has made thousands of bears for people who are grieving, according to McCroskey, and she hopes to make thousands more.
"I love what I do and I enjoy helping people tremendously; making the bears and helping them get through their grieving process," McCroskey said.
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
A misspelling was corrected in this story.