“Look for the ‘bear’ necessities, the simple ‘bear’ necessities, forget about your trouble and your strife….” Those are the words to Baloo’s song in The Jungle Book – but they could easily apply for hundreds of youngsters who will receive a lovingly knitted teddy bear to soothe their stress.
The bears are being knitted by local volunteers during lockdown and added to the comfort bags which are donated to abused children every month. The young victims, mostly girls but also some boys, ranging from babies to 16 years, are often found traumatised and confused when taken to the Child Protection Units.
“The children who receive our packs are very often alone and surrounded by total strangers. They are also usually afraid and hungry,” says Margaret Cunningham, who co-ordinates the Hermanus volunteers. “Our project aims to soothe their distress and provide some basic items to assist them. We call it ‘Bears on a Mission’ and it was started almost 20 years ago by Flo Borchers and her daughter Kerrin Marcon.”
The bears are distributed throughout the Western Cape in the comfort bags, which contain a range of age-appropriate items including food, drinks, hygiene and sanitary products.
With the growing problem of child abuse, the task of financing items such as wool and stuffing, plus the need for volunteers to knit the teddies is increasing. There is also a demand for funds to buy the general supplies. The sad truth is that almost 2 000 teddy bears are currently needed.
If you feel that you can help, please contact Margaret on 082 437 2976.