By Nick Ciancio
Bear Food may be a small peanut business in Macon, Georgia, but owner Mac Brydon is doing big things—and that includes more than just selling peanuts. He is trying to break a trend. More than 80 percent of adults with disabilities or special needs are unemployed. Mac Brydon wants Bear Food to help change that.
As a Mercer University student looking to help pay tuition, Mac started Bear Food in 2018. When trying to devise a business plan, he thought about the business his mother once had selling gourmet peanuts, and he decided to continue her legacy and create his own gourmet peanut company, which he named in honor of his community and school, the Mercer Bears. With product and name out of the way, Mac only needed one more thing: employees. He thought about his brother Miller, who has Down syndrome, and about the fact that he had just graduated from high school. He knew that Miller wouldn’t be able to go to college, nor did he have any job offers, so Mac decided to help his brother and others like him. He wanted to create transitional jobs for young adults with special needs.
For these special needs employees, the work experience means more than the actual production. It’s all about being able to set and achieve goals and to learn how to work in a business environment. Many Bear Food employees have graduated high school, but have not found a permanent job, and Mac wants to show them what it takes to hold a long-term job. Bear Food gives them the skills they need to do this.
A pro-life partnership
Bear Food has recently begun a partnership with the Culture of Life Studies Program. The CLSP works to help educators, youth ministers, and parents educate, equip, and inspire students for life through its PreK-12 Catholic, pro-life educational program.
When he was asked why he formed a partnership with CLSP, Mac said he wanted Bear Food to work with organizations that represent what he believes in and who he is as a person. He stated: “Bear Food is a company that helps employ special needs adults and shows these adults that there is value in their life. Many people may look down on them as less capable, but my brother has impacted my life in ways that are invaluable. This is why CLSP fits with Bear Food’s mission, because every life has value.”
About this partnership, CLSP director Catherine Daub says:
To be truly pro-life you must see the dignity and value in all human beings, especially those who are marginalized by our culture—preborn babies, senior citizens, and people with special needs. While the world attempts to eradicate Down syndrome through abortion, we continue to teach that people with Down syndrome and other special needs are amazing, beautiful, and a gift to the world. The relationship between Bear Foods and the CLSP is a natural fit. And it’s a triple win for customers who buy from the CLSP landing page at bearfood.biz/culture-of-life-studies. With each purchase, you are helping to employ adults with special needs, providing pro-life education in schools across the nation, and enjoying the most amazing peanuts you’ve ever eaten!
And these peanuts are amazing! Mac and his team work diligently to create delicious-tasting gourmet peanuts in many flavors, including Lightly Salted, Butter Toasted, Cajun Spiced, Dill Pickle, and Gourmet Peanut Brittle. There is truly a flavor for everyone. And, after the weather cools in October, you will be able to order Double-Dipped Chocolate peanuts as well. These peanuts make meaningful gifts any time of the year and for any occasion—anniversaries, birthdays, corporate events, a fun office treat, and of course holiday gifts. Are you looking for something unique to give your clients this year? These peanuts come in an attractive tin and make excellent corporate gifts. Plus, you can give them knowing that you’re doing good for others. With each and every tin you order, 50 percent of the proceeds goes to Bear Food and 50 percent goes to CLSP!
Both CLSP and Mac Brydon are helping build a culture of life by touching the lives of those around them. As Mac says: “Everyone was created with a purpose, and everyone has a different path. No matter the challenges that people have in their lives, there should always be at least an opportunity to allow people to overcome them.”
While Bear Food works hard at producing quality peanuts, peanuts are not the only thing this company is making. Mac and his team are making memories, giving experience, creating heartwarming stories, and changing lives one step at a time. He inspires people with special needs and shows them that their lives have value. He is touching the hearts of families and friends, and he is hero to his community.
To order, visit bearfood.biz/culture-of-life-studies.
Nick Ciancio is a senior at Bearden High School and hopes to study mathematics in college.