Disney VoluntEARS Create a “Beary” Christmas for Children in Need

I love this article! Yet another way to put creative sewing skills (and fabric scraps) to good use for the community around the holidays.

Disney VoluntEARS Create a “Beary” Christmas for Children in Need

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. Dec. 17, 2010 – A teddy bear is special gift. In an instant, it can become a child’s best friend. Partnering with the Salvation Army of Central Florida, Disney VoluntEARS dressed more than 2,000 bears during this year’s Dress-A-Bear program.

Walt Disney World cast members have been participating in the Dress-A-Bear program for the past 14 years.  Janice Jones, Walt Disney World Costumer and Workroom Manager, has coordinated Creative Costuming’s Dress-A-Bear efforts since the program’s beginning.

“It’s a creative outlet for cast members and it provides something special for children,” said Jones.

Many of the bears receive one-of-a-kind outfits, handmade with great care by cast members on their own personal time. Using scraps of fabric and creativity, VoluntEARS craft cuddly ensembles from firemen to princesses. Buzz Lightyear, Rapunzel and the Mad Hatter were fashionable this year.  All of these efforts are done in hopes of connecting with a child in need.

“To be able to share our talents with children, and to make one of kind unique clothes, is a labor of love,” said Elizabeth Lau, Creative Costuming Workroom Manager.

The special bears, along with 393 filled stockings, will be distributed by the Salvation Army of Central Florida to local children who are in need of holiday gifts.


Craft for a Cause

It’s no secret that I dislike the holidays. The rampant commercialism and focus on all things selfish are enough to drive me bonkers year after year. On the flip side, my passionate dislike of the most-wonderful-time-of-the-year is enough to drive my holiday-loving friends equally bonkers, so I do my best to keep my opinions at bay and find ways to channel my feelings somewhere useful. This is usually where distracting crafts come into play.

I recently heard about an organization called Project Linus through a JoAnn Fabrics Facebook post about “Craft for a Cause,” a campaign that draws attention to charities that benefit from – you guessed it – crafts! What a cool concept to stumble upon just when the holiday craziness is about to take over my life.

Being a huge fan of my own blankie, I was immediately captivated by the Project Linus mission statement“To provide love, a sense of security, warmth and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need through the gifts of new, handmade blankets and afghans, lovingly created by volunteer ‘blanketeers.'”

The organization accepts all sorts of donations and even devotes a section of their site to patterns and resources for sewers, knitters, crocheters and non-sewers (no-sew fleece blankets, anyone?).

I started thinking about sewing for charities. After a little research, here’s a small sampling of many inspirational organizations seeking crafters:

  • ConKerr Cancer – A Case for Smiles: Follow a simple pattern to create fun pillowcases for children’s hospital rooms. Fun and cheery fabrics unite!
  • The Preemie Project: Create handmade items for premature babies in hospitals who are too small for standard size clothing. Most notable on the site are the fleece “blanket sleepers,” which are  sent home with preemie parents in an effort to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
  • Drawstring bags for troops: Create simple drawstring bags for soldiers to carry their toiletries and small personal belongings, or share with children.

Pretty amazing! I can’t wait to try some of the projects listed above.

What other crafty, charitable opportunities are out there?