Three times a month since October 2018, a group of strangers-turned-friends has met at Highland Presbyterian Church to sew. The mission—Project: Buddy Bear.
Project: Buddy Bear founder Pat Taylor, who lost her own son in a car accident, decided to turn her personal heartache into an organization to help offer comfort to others. “I’ve been a fabric artist for over 40 years,” she said. “After my son died, I wanted to find a way to give back. I began sewing bears to donate last year, and after putting a call out for volunteer sewers, the concept began to take a life of its own.”
To date, Project: Buddy Bear volunteers have sewn and donated over 70 teddy bears to the Winston-Salem Police Department.
“These bears travel in patrol cars,” shared Officer Claudia Morgan. “Our officers give them to both children and adults who have found themselves in traumatic situations, including car accidents, fires, domestic violence, crimes, or any kind of emergency.”
The handmade bears take anywhere from three to eight hours to construct, depending on the details. “There’s something about these bears that is very special,” said Pat. “We are overwhelmed by the response we’ve received about them, and it feels so good to be doing something like this in the community. The Winston-Salem Police Department has been so supportive of our efforts. We’re actually having a hard time keeping up with the demand!”
As of March 2019, 12 active volunteers regularly sew. However, as Pat was quick to point out, sewing talent is optional. “We need volunteers who can cut out patterns or be bear stuffers. Every bear is uniquely made, so we need more hands!” Project: Buddy Bear volunteers meet from 10 AM – 12 PM on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays, as well as the 4th Saturday of every month. They meet in the Highland Presbyterian Church Activity Center at 2380 Cloverdale Avenue in Winston-Salem.
“The need is great,” chimed in Officer Morgan. “We could easily give out multiple bears a day. Those who receive a bear appreciate the comfort they offer. The love that’s been poured into each bear is felt by those who cling to them in a time of crisis.”
In addition to volunteers, Pat shared, “We need supplies. Specifically, we need quilting cotton fabrics, new stuffing, and thread. We also accept monetary donations.”
Project: Buddy Bear has a page on Facebook. You can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how to get involved or donate. Project: Buddy Bear volunteers meet from 10 AM – 12 PM on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays, as well as the 4th Saturday of every month. They meet in the Highland Presbyterian Church Activity Center at 2380 Cloverdale Avenue in Winston-Salem.