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Davis Journal

Kids sew teddy bears for refugee children

Apr 08, 2022 09:20AM ● By Becky Ginos

Allie Harris cuts out a teddy bear that will go to other stations to be sewn together and stuffed. The bears will be donated to Dolls for Hope to be distributed in 43 countries to children of refugees. Courtesy photo

BOUNTIFUL—Kids at Boulton Elementary were cutting, stitching and stuffing teddy bears last week as part of a service project to donate to Dolls for Hope, an organization that gives the bears to the children of refugees. 

“We had a goal of 50 bears,” said SEM teacher Kirsten McNeal. “We easily made that. The kids were passionate about it and they just opened up Ukraine. It’s the first conflict that the kids are aware of because it’s on the news. It means so much more to them than just doing a nameless, faceless act.”

The sixth grade student council does two worldwide service projects each year, she said. “We’re always looking for ways to serve the school and community. The kids love to give.”

They filled 20 backpacks with school supplies to donate to refugees through Helping Hands as one of the projects. “We also bought a goat for a family of 10 in the Middle East,” said McNeal. “The kids even got to name her and they sent pictures of her with the family. They’d been living in a tent for 10 years. It was their only source of milk.”

At the beginning of the year the student council kids meet and decide what they want to do, she said. “Someone found the need for school supplies on the website Just Serve. A representative gave a presentation to the kids and they saw the goat. They were just so excited they couldn’t wait to buy a goat. It was so cute.”

Each year they sell Valentine’s grams and gifts and the money raised goes toward the projects. “So many parents gave too that we could have bought 10 goats,” said McNeal, “These kids are so generous. They’d much rather give than receive.”

There were different stations to make the teddy bears, she said. “There was trace and cut where they traced the pattern on the fabric and cut it. Then there was the embroidery station to make the face. They really caught onto that one.”

Some of the girls learned without their parents, said McNeal. “They helped each other, so it was fun. Kids even took the bears home so they could sew in the car while they were on vacation.”

There was the sew together station, she said. “Then they flip them and they go to the stuffing and closing station. They’re definitely getting their home ec in. That’s the fun and unexpected part.”

One teacher is doing it with her sixth grade class, McNeal said. “They’re sewing on the faces. It’s neat to get the whole school involved for sure. We’re going to continue to do this. We’ll leave out the supplies all year. There’s always a need.”

McNeal said now they’ll box the bears up and send them to Dolls for Hope. “Then they ship them to different places. They give to 43 countries and have donated 50,000 bears. They send pictures of the kids receiving the bears. It’s the most heartwarming thing I’ve seen. I’ve found my new passion.”