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Connected in HOPE. Linked4Life.

  Linked4Life is a non-profit established as part of the Bear's Foundation in 2020 by Cheryl Antoncic, Co-Owner of Bear's Smokehouse BBQ. The mission at that time was to link together, one pledge, one person, one carabiner at a time, inviting people to speak openly about mental health issues while encouraging listening non-judgmentally, to create safe spaces across the country, connecting with a message of hope to those who need help the most.


The carabiner is the movement's visual reminder that we are linked together, and it's okay to ask for help. We're each other's safe spaces, creating messages of hope - one link at a time. In linking carabiners together in HOPE, we are connecting in meaningful ways - linking together - to break through the stigma that leaves too many people struggling in silence.


The first major event was held on October 10, 2020 in celebration of World Mental Health Day, Linked4Life worked with many partners including RiseUP for Arts to break a Guinness World Record by linking together 13,808 carabiners at Dunkin' Park in Hartford, CT. Through the sale of carabiners at Bear's Smokehouse BBQ locations, online donations, and the support of community partners we raised approximately $40,000 to benefit the Jordan Porco Foundation, whose mission is to promote mental health, prevent suicide, and create a message of hope.

We have since evolved to bring you new initiatives to help create HOPE, raise mental health awareness, and connect people to help who need it the most, with the ever-present visual reminder that we are stronger together.

All Linked4Life initiatives and projects supported are chosen based on meeting(4) key elements:

1. They must engage community stakeholders.

2. They must engage the community members that will directly benefit from the project.

3. The stakeholders and community members must work together to fundraise for a portion of the project.

4. They must be more than a "one day" project and have a plan for longterm impact and sustainability.


(D.B.A. Linked4Life)


Bear’s Foundation is a non-profit  501(c)(3) organization founded in 2020 by Bear’s Smokehouse LLC.  The Foundation seeks to further the restaurant group’s mission of serving the communities in which they are located and bring awareness to important issues affecting society on local and national levels.  Such issues include mental health, animal welfare, and conservation of natural resources and protection of wildlife.

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