Snowbirds make handmade comfort bears for local children

Snowbirds make handmade comfort bears for local children

Peg Barrett is the "bear boss" of her fellow snowbirds who are, predictably, from all over the country.

"I am from Ohio. We have a lot of Michiganders from Michigan, we have Minnesota, Virginia," she laughed.

All assembled, they're a band of comfort bear builders. They settled on this project last year as the RVers headed home. Barrett asked them to gather supplies over the summer which they did, in abundance.

"They come down and bring it and we have no idea what we're going to be working with and we create with that," she said.

They call themselves the "Ladies of Luxury." They spend the winter at the Luxury R.V. Resort making things to help folks who live here year-round.

Barrett declared, "We don't just come down and use the resources. We want to be part of the community."

They've been finishing up a huge batch of individually decorated stuffed bears. The fleece bears are snuggled into custom sleeping bags. Local first responders will give them to children at crime or accident scenes.

"The fire department can go into the trunk of their vehicle and pull something out and just hand that little bit of comfort, what a change, what a change," Barrett said.

Debra Partridge is glad to have a project to distract her on this particular day.

She explained, "My first born grandson turns 18 today and Grama's a little sad."

As she sews, Debra prays over each bear, praying very specifically that it finds its way to the child who needs it most.

"Every stitch is love. We stitch in love," she smiled.

Most of our bear-builders are retired educators, one's a former home economics teacher. Some ladies sew, some stuff bears, no matter their job, all are welcome.

Barrett laughed, "Everyone's a friend, you just jump in a help out."

The bear project is barely complete, the crafty crew is planning the next project. You can count on it being useful and it will bring joy.

Barrett said, "I hope people will be happy with each other and help each other, that's what we're all here on this earth for."

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