Karen Egolf was eager to find an opportunity to help others.
After writing a story for the publication she works for about the good things companies and brands do for those in need, she became intent to find a way to give back herself.
"Once I decided to get involved in helping others, I thought about what I could do and decided to start knitting again," Egolf said. She had learned to knit as a child, but had not knit a stitch in several years.
Egolf started by making hats for babies, and then found a group near where she lives in Chicago that focused on distributing hand-made items to needy families. It was through a few members of the group that she eventually discovered Mother Bear Project (MBP) and tried knitting her first bear.
"Making my first bear, I thought I'll just do this one—life is too short," she said. "I hated sewing up the bear. But once I was finished, well, heck—I had a really cute bear!"
209 ("and a half!") bears later, Egolf is definitely helping the children who receive Mother Bears in a major way.
In addition to knitting bears, she has spread the word about Mother Bear Project to her coworkers, friends, and family. She presented about her work with the organization at one of her company’s annual sales meetings. Her husband helps ship the bears to Minnesota, and her sister sponsors bears on behalf of her friends.
"She's been really supportive and keeps looking for ways to spread the word (she can't knit or crochet), including mentioning MBP on her blog from time to time," Egolf said.
Egolf even volunteered at the Mother Bear Project booth at Stitches Midwest in the summer of 2013.
Mother Bear Project has benefitted greatly from Egolf's commitment to helping others.
"I love the whole idea of Mother Bear Project," she said. "I love the bears. I love making the bears. I love seeing my armchair full of bright, smiling bears. I love seeing the kids with the bears-and knowing they have something to play with and share their secrets with and hang onto when they're lonely or scared. I love seeing people's faces light up when I tell them about MBP... I love the whole magic of the project!"