Those who’ve been around this blog for a while, know that I’m a huge fan of sewing for charity. Today I want to share with you one of my recent favorite charities in need of sewing donations: Dolls of Hope.
Dolls of Hope Charity Sewing – Stuffed Bears for Children in Crisis
When my youngest son was ready to start working on an Eagle Scout project this summer, and knowing it would need to be something with skills in my wheelhouse, we talked about it, I shared some ideas, and he choose to make stuffed toy bears for the organization Dolls of Hope. (You can also find them on Facebook.)
You may remember that I featured Dolls of Hope last year as one of the sewing-for-charity causes in my Sew Goodness series.
Anyone who’s helped a kid with an Eagle Scout project knows it is a ton of work. And, because the scout’s job is to take charge, lead the project and teach others along the way, it’s not the most efficient way to mass produce. But I’m proud of this guy – he did it!
We were so grateful for fabric donations from Riley Blake Designs who donated flannel and minky scraps and an awesome neighbor who donated all of the stuffing.
His goal was to sew 50 bears, but with the extra fabric/stuffing we had we were able to make 68!
It was so great to see the variety of kids who came to help with the Dolls of Hope projects. We had one day where it was prepping the bears – tracing the pattern, stitching the faces, preparing for the machine sewing. (Some even tried machine sewing for the first time.)
Then we had another day of stuffing all of the bears.
It was so fun to watch these kids not only try new skills, but willingly jump in and help with our Dolls of Hope sewing project, especially when my son explained that the bears would go to children in need – most with nothing of their own.
Another shout out to helpful neighbors – one who came and helped stitch up the holes in the side after all of the bears were stuffed. And an extra special shout out to this special neighbor who helped with some of the machine sewing. This is our wonderful neighbor Xiong Li. I’ve shared a little bit in the past about this wonderful friend and her Hmong sewing skills. Now in her 90’s, sewing is still her favorite thing to do- she makes flannel baby blankets for charities whenever she gets her hands on fabric. She says it makes her days go faster.
She helped us sew together some of the bears which was extra poignant since many of the donated bears and dolls go to children in refugee camps.
Xiong Li lived in a Thai refugee camp with her own small children before being relocated to the United States in the 1980’s. Her husband helped rescue and hide American pilots who had been shot down over Vietnam and Laos in the 1970’s. As a result he and their family was hunted and tortured by the Laotian military. Their family had a harrowing escape across Laos and the Mekong river with bullets flying over their heads, before being rescued and given refuge in a camp in Thailand and eventually asylum in the US.
I love this special friend so much. These are real people with traumatic stories they didn’t choose. We are so much more alike than different.
Want to help us make more Dolls of Hope Bears?
We delivered the bears to to Dolls of Hope this week. As we talked to Sarah, the founder, she mentioned that she’s had requests for 1,000’s more bears before the end of the year. The bears/dolls are usually requested and delivered by charities and organizations traveling to help people in need around the world.
We’ve completed the Eagle project, but we want to help get more bears in the hands of children. Want to help us? You can make and send your own collection of dolls or bears to Dolls of Hope. You can find all of their information on their website here or their Facebook page.
Or, if you only have time to make one or two flat bears for Dolls of Hope, send them to us before Thanksgiving. We have a pro-team of experienced stuffers now and would be happy to finish them and deliver them to Dolls of Hope for you. You can find the pattern to make the bears here.
POST UPDATE: I’m no longer taking bears to stuff, but you can send them directly to Dolls of Hope – they will gladly take them unstuffed and have people who can help finish them. You can find their contact information here.
Are you doing any charity sewing before the holidays this year? I’d love to hear what you’re doing!
Sewing for others in need is so rewarding. It blesses both the giver and the receiver. But does not need to be a source of added stress or guilt. Here are my extended thoughts and lessons learned on how to pace yourself when sewing for charity.