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
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."
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
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
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.