Boyertown Area Multi-Service
200 Spring Street
Boyertown, PA 19512

Donations from the community sponsored the bears who are dedicated to Pamela Snyder, her son Preston, and the baby girl that Pamela was expecting, Evelyn Rose who died when their car ws swept away in a flash flood in 2019.

Preston had been given a classroom assignment to complete a project on a passion of his. It cold have been anything, such as a hobby or sport. Preston chose hunger and decided to conduct a food drive. He designed flyers and put a sign on a box asking for donations. He and his classmates collected 45 pounds of food that they donated to Boyertown Area Multi-Service.

At the funeral, the family asked for donations to be directed to Boyertown Area Multi-Service, Inc. which then hosted a food drive in Preston's memory. Over 300 businesses collected food with donations over 20,000 pounds in Preston's name. The weekend of the drive included food trucks, a DJ, t-shirts printed with "1st annual Preston's Pantry project." Boyertown Area Multi-Service has rebranded its food pantry in Preston's name.

Suzanne Walsh
Suzanne, originally from Chicago, now lives in Wayne, PA, and is a retired elementary art teacher who met Rob Snyder, Pamela's father, when she was at school preparing for art shows at night. He was a custodian.

When he first called her to do the bears, she refused—didn’t feel confident/competent: “I’m not an artist—I teach art; this project is not for me." But Rob insisted, so she began a journey of learning how and what to do—from the website and from other Bear Fever artists--and she tried to learn what the Snyders would like their bears to look like. She asked questions about Preston and his mom, learned that she liked sunflowers. Got to know her through conversations with Rob and Linda.

Rob kept saying “Do what you want.” Suzanne learned that the couple liked the bear at Taylor Backes that is decorated with pieces of glass—a mosaic, so with that in mind plus the sunflowers, Suzanne began a plan. She made the bear’s nose a pink heart. She had the bears fingernails and toenails painted nicely; apparently mom always had her hair nails done.

With Preston she knew she had to create sneakers (red chucks?) She learned that Preston’s idea for collecting food came from a school’s “passion project.” Some kids named sports. Preston was concerned about kids who had no food in summertime. They described him as a “humble boy” who wanted to know how to help his community.

For his passion project, he drew on a box that would hold food items. He named foods; the box appears on the bear’s back. Suzanne wants folks to see the back of the bear because the box is featured.

A YouTube video was created about Preston’s school—Pine Forge Elementary School--that has since been closed. The video includes info about Preston and his project. https://youtu.be/MR_5qYWf55g

Of the process, Suzanne noted that at times it was difficult to get the colors of the paint she wanted. She spent about 3 months creating the bears.

Rob was very complimentary about the folks at Multi-Service—where Preston’s Pantry is located and the bear project. There are rocks around the area where the bears are located. There was a rock painting party. The rocks have inspiring words on them.

While they acknowledged their on-going grief, Rob spoke a bit about the blessings they’ve received since the tragedy. People have paid for their dinners. During the funeral procession, folks stood out with their hands over their hearts as the procession drove past. He said they’ve met “amazing people everywhere." He said that the tragedy “made me grow.”