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     Issue 17: December 2012 • Visit Mother Bear Project online at www.motherbearproject.org
News from Mother Bear Project.

Mother Bear Holiday Ornaments
Give the gift of comfort
Support MBP by purchasing bear ornaments for your friends, teachers or grandparents. The purchase of every ornament will help us send 6 regular Mother Bears to children in Africa who are affected by HIV/AIDS.
Learn more ›

Sponsor a bear!
For 10.00 we will name a bear for the gift recipient and send a gift card out.
Learn more ›

Donations of Forever stamps are always needed and appreciated!

Mother Bear recipient
Mother Bear Betsey
Mother Bear recipient
Mother Bear Carol
Mother Bear recipient
Mother Bear Ellen
Mother Bear recipient
Mother Bear Helen
Mother Bear recipient
Mother Bear Lucinda
Mother Bear Recipient
Mother Bear Lorin
Featured Mother Bear: The Fischers

For Mary Fischer and her daughters, knitting bears for Mother Bear Project is a family affair. Her daughter, Jane, often joins her for evenings of knitting in her Milwaukee home.

"We compare yarn color choices and how to make the faces," Mary said. "In fact, she keeps her bear-making materials at my house because it's the one place where she does not have any other duties distracting her."

It was on a visit from her home near Dubuque, Iowa, that Mary's daughter, Kate, first discovered Mother Bear Project.

"I came across an issue of Simply Knitting magazine and spotted the project," Kate said. "I bought the pattern from the Mother Bear website and made two. When I returned to Milwaukee some weeks later, mom and I agreed this was a project we’d like to take on."

Since then, Mary and her daughters have made piles of bears.

"There’s something about the project that is magnetizing,” Mary said. “My daughters and I put them in baskets around my living room and we forget whose is whose. They just become all our sweeties."

Kate, like her mother, has always enjoyed knitting, but finds special purpose in the project as it has brings her family together.

"At this stage in our lives, too, it gives my mom and me an activity we share with such joy," Kate said. "Now that my sister, Jane, is also knitting bears, we have a blast comparing the ears (Jane makes great ones), noses (mom's are terrific), and attempts to hide stitches (I'm working on this). I am amazed that a single activity could so bind three women whose lives are really tremendously different in other ways."

The Fischer ladies have also spread the word about Mother Bear Project around their community. Kate started a charity knitting group in Dubuque, Iowa, and the group has spent some time making Mother Bears.

"I've also seen my mom telling anyone who comes into her house - the couple who cleans, the guy who trims trees, and the postman - about the project and also encouraging them to donate," Kate said. "Who would have known we'd become such hucksters on behalf of Mother Bear!"

Featured mother bear

When Kate visits her mother in Milwaukee, she packs up the bears into boxes and heads to the post office.

"I leave the boxes un-taped and the postal worker, upon seeing the bears, always smiles at the shipment,” she said. “When I last mailed bears, another woman stopped me and asked about the project. She admitted she wasn’t a knitter, but wished she could help. Before I knew it, I was writing down the website for her and encouraging her to donate via PayPal."

In Mary's home, Mother Bears do not just fill the baskets in her living room, but she keeps photos of the children who receive the bears around her house - on the refrigerator, on the organ, on the mantel.

"I change them around just as I do with my kids and grandkids," she said.

Kate finds joy in the knowledge that the simple task she shares with her mother and sister will bring joy to children far away, and let them know someone cares.
"My hope is that others will either donate to the cause or pick up needles and create bears," Kate said. "I love seeing how immediately people respond to the bears, but more importantly, to the needs of children.”

Mary had 11 children of her own, and now her kids and grandkids are spread all across the country. She has always loved children, and putting a smile on their faces, which has been her primary draw to Mother Bear Project.

"I get a cozy feeling knowing that this bear will find its way to one particular special child," Mary said. "Before packing them into the box, I give a wish to each bear for the child who receives it: 'Go, sweet bear. Make a little boy or little girl smile for at least a little while.' And then I send my love along, too."

Amy's Corner

Dear Friends,

As we approach the Holiday Season, I like to reflect on all that I am grateful for. On that list is Mother Bear Project.

I am grateful to use my hands to produce something straight from my heart that sends comfort to a child in Africa who is affected by HIV/AIDS.

I am grateful that this gift brings comfort and joy not only to the children who hold them close, but to the bear makers who have a way to make a direct impact on young lives half a world away.

I am grateful that this is a project that sends love unconditionally so that bear makers of all ages and faiths and abilities can join together to make an impact on so many children. Each bear is as unique as the person who made it.

Finally, I am grateful to each person who has touched this project and has made it possible to send over 81,000 bears in the past 9 years.

Mother Bear Project will have a booth at Stitches West February 21-24 in Santa Clara, CA and I hope you will stop by and say hello and deliver a bear or two in person.

May your holidays be joyful and filled with peace,

Amy red flag

Thank You Mother Bear Group Photo