Each month 1000 bears are shipped to Africa, but these are not your wild beasts with sharp claws. No, we are talking about cuddly teddy bears distributed to young children in search of a lovable companion. As reported by Kevyn Burger in the Minneapolis Star Tribune (1-1-17), this outreach comes about thanks to Amy Berman, who started a non-profit 14 years ago replicating what her mother had done during WW II for English children evacuated due to bombing. Berman, as it turns out, is using the same pattern that her mother had used to make those bears.

Altogether, a total of more than 128,000 children in 14 countries have received these bears over the many years that the Mother Bear Project has been operating. As Berman states, “Children need something to play with or sing to, to cuddle at the end of the day.” Many of them are orphans of Africa’s HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Since Berman started the project, volunteers in all 50 states as well as 30 countries have stepped up to make the bears. They also contribute three dollars per bear to cover shipping costs. A 90-year-old former art teacher, Sister Lauren Spence, holds the record for number of bears fabricated at 2,230.

Brennan adds a couple of nice touches to finish off each donation. She has volunteers sew a red heart on each bear and tags each one with a note from the knitter. She also sends a thank-you note back to the knitter. Finally, she coordinates getting a picture of the child holding the bear—a most gratifying gift to the knitter in exchange for all of the unconditional love sent the child’s way with each bear. Thank you, Amy Berman, for the Mother Bear Project that expands your mother’s work many fold, certainly a fine example of Love Lived Large. If you’d like to donate to her cause, check out her website: motherbearproject.org.


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