Photo: 300 bears get ready to be shipped to immigrant children through the Southwest Key Programs. Photo courtesy of Knitting Without Borders.
Started in 2010 by Loredana Delucchi of New York, Knitting Without Borders has donated thousands of handmade teddy bears to orphanages, schools, remote villages, and hospitals across the world where children have undergone medical tests or treatments. Her friends, family and co-workers picked up their knitting needles and crochet hooks to help fulfill Loredana’s dream of bringing joy to needy children. People traveled with bears in their suitcases to many destinations, including physicians from NYU Langone Medical Center as they visited medical clinics in far-to-reach areas.
Unfortunately, the arrival of COVID-19 limited travel and the programs in New York, New Jersey and Maryland closed. However, as a lover of this project, Gloria Brown a retired nurse from New Jersey who moved to Sedona two years ago, reached out to other “bear artists” and new recruits in Arizona who felt the same way she did about this project – it just couldn’t end. That is why Knitting Without Borders Arizona exists at this time.
“I just fell in love with the idea of crafting safe knitted and crocheted little bears that are hypo-allergenic, washable and safe for children,” says Gloria.
Bears are created by bear artists in New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, California, Arizona and new recruits are starting in Nebraska, South Carolina, Louisiana and Nevada. From November 2019 to today, Gloria has overseen the delivery of more than 1,800 bears.
Gloria is Knitting Without Borders Arizona area coordinator and is always searching for volunteers, or “bear artists,” to help knit or crochet bears. If you are interested, please contact Gloria at email@example.com or for more informaiton on the project, visit knittingwithoutborders.jigsy.com.