After two years of playing, Mac Brydon came to the conclusion that breathing, eating, sleeping, and living basketball wasn’t for him. But he fell in love with Mercer, the staff, and the friends he made there. He wanted to stay, but how could he pay for a small, private out-of-state school? That’s when he started Bear Food.
Mac’s parents are from Virginia, and one of Virginia’s major cash crops is peanuts. Twenty-four years earlier, Mac’s mother started her own successful gourmet peanut company while living in Chicago. These were the biggest, most delicious hand-cooked peanuts to be found and everyone LOVED them! So Mac decided to resurrect his mother’s recipes, but there was something more he wanted to do with my business, and it involved his best friend and older brother, Miller.
Miller has Down’s Syndrome. He had just graduated high school and had been struggling to figure out his next steps. Miller is smart, strong, funny (and a great dancer!), but had never been given a springboard into life like Mac had with his college opportunity. This is a typical story for someone such as Miller, along with many of his friends with special needs and throughout America. More than 80% of the special needs community is unemployed and I knew Bear Food could be a way he could help change this trend. Mac’s lifetime experiences with this community has taught him that many in this population just need a chance or an experience to learn job skills, and that’s what he now does at Bear Food, which is a perfect way to provide training, encouragement, and a sense of purpose that we all need.