Red Cross looking for trauma bears

Jodi
Jodi Schellenberg
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When a family is dealing with a crisis, the Red Cross does not only help the parents, but they also provide children with trauma bears.

The Prince Albert chapter of the Canadian Red Cross is looking for volunteers to make more trauma bears, which are given out to children when their families are in crisis.

Since their supply of trauma bears is running low, the Prince Albert chapter of the Canadian Red Cross has put the call out to knitters interested in donating more bears to the organization.

“Canadian Red Cross responds within the first 72 hours when a family has had some kind of personal disaster -- most commonly a house fire,” explained Sue Laflamme, 
community outreach co-ordinator for the Prince Albert chapter. “We provide basic assistance for them. We can put them up in hotels or provide them grocery vouchers or clothing vouchers, just so they have their basic needs covered for the first few days after a trauma like that.

“Another thing we like to provide is teddy bears for the kids,” she added. “We don’t purchase these -- in the past we have had teddy bears donated but in the last little while we have had, we actually got the idea from the Australian Red Cross, where they have people knit bears.”

They get local knitters to create the bears and donate them to the Red Cross to give to the children in need.

“We did have some made over the last little while and I had someone recently ask me if I had a pattern for one,” Laflamme said. “I looked online at Australian Red Cross, and they actually did have a pattern for the bear.”

Since they are down to their last few bears, Laflamme has been asking people who knit to consider making some.

“It really does help because it is a difficult time for a family,” she said. “Parents are involved in trying to take care of what they are going to do next when they find themselves out of their home.

“Quite often the children are traumatized by that and it is nice to give them a little teddy bear that is all theirs,” she added. “It is a comforting thing. These bears in particular, they are soft and not very big and they can sort of tuck them in with them wherever they go.”

Laflamme said the children need something that is just for them, since their parents are busy with the logistics of getting back on their feet after a trauma.

There are patterns for the bears available at the Prince Albert Canadian Red Cross building, located at 54 11th St. East.

“If they don’t need a pattern and they have got bears they are making and would like to donate a few, they can just drop them off at the Red Cross,” Laflamme said. “Someone else asked me if they could use the pattern and just use fabric to make teddies and that would be fine too.

“People tend to use the ends of rolls of yarn that they have,” she added. “It is a good way to use up small amounts of yarn because they are not very big. People like to have a little project like that. I’m not a knitter, but I guess knitters find these things a quick thing to make.”

She urges people to consider donating, because it does help the children involved.

“It really does make a difference to a child who is confused and just having a hard time that their house has burned. It is just a nice way to help out a child when their family is in trauma.”

Organizations: Prince Albert

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