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Newsletters & Stories

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Charity Feature - The Mother Bear Project
By: Lion Brand

Child with bearThe holidays are all about giving, with handmade gifts especially meaningful. This month's charity feature is bringing hand-knit and crocheted bears to children in emerging countries. The Mother Bear Project has sent over 34,000 bears to children effected by HIV/AIDS since its inception 6 years ago.

A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to comfort children in emerging nations affected by HIV/AIDS, the Mother Bear Project sends the bears to children all over Africa and in Haiti. Bear-makers range from ages 6 to 99 and come from all over the world.

Amy Berman, founder of the Project, said, "These bears give the children who face extreme challenges in their daily lives something to hold onto and cuddle -- and they send the very important message that someone half a world away cares. Every bear wears a tag that says 'With Love Mother Bear____' and the knitter signs her/his name. The children love knowing who made their bear. When we receive bears, they all receive a red felt heart to show the children they are made with love."

Boy with bearUsing a specified pattern designed to be easy (only knit stitch/single crochet necessary), lightweight, and customizable, volunteer knitters and crocheters from all over the world make these symbols of friendship and love. Volunteers who wish to make bears can purchase the bear pattern for $5, with the money going towards mailing the bears. Although the bear pattern is standardized, knitters and crocheters are encouraged to personalize their bears with fun yarns, exciting colors, and original faces. Each pattern kit also includes a tag that's sent to the children along with their bear, letting them know who each one is from.

The project also accepts monetary donations (to help with the cost of shipping the bears to Africa), washable worsted weight yarn (especially tans, variagated yarns, and bright colors), and size 7 knitting needles. For the holidays, you can also sponsor a bear for $10 in honor of a friend or loved one; that person will receive a card acknowledging that a bear was sent in their name.

For more information, including how to purchase a pattern and where to send donations, please visit the Mother Bear Project website.

Photos above courtesy of The Mother Bear Project.

Authored by Lion Brand

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