NewsUplifting Arizona


Volunteers needed to sew thousands of teddy bears for kids in crisis

Bears will go to first responders to help people after tragedy strikes
Posted at 5:26 PM, Dec 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-04 08:41:14-05

PHOENIX — Inside the Assistance League of Phoenix on Thursday, sewing machines were humming as volunteers took on a very special task.

“You know you’re helping kids, and that’s what we do at assistance league,” said Volunteer Pam Jones.

Let’s just say Pam knows her way around these machines.

“I’ll tell you when I learned to sew, on an old treadle sewing machine, do you know what that is,” said Pam with a laugh.

She and longtime volunteer Diana Krasnow are putting the final touches on dozens of teddy bears.

“If you think about a child going through a tragedy, they just need something to hold onto, something that’s soft, something they can curl up with,” said Assistance League of Phoenix CEO Aimee Runyon.

Runyon says the goal here is to create 6,000 bears to be handed over to local first responders next year. Eventually, those bears are passed along to children when they’re needed most.

“When you have a situation like a house fire or death or any other type of tragedy, and there’s young children, our first responders have the ability to give them something so they can hold on to it,” said Runyon.

What it provides is comfort in a time of crisis. Pam shared an email she recently received from a woman writing about getting her own bear 30 years ago.

“Her house was burned and she lost everything, all her toys were gone and all she had was this little bear and she still has it and treasures it today,” said Pam.

The organization is desperate for volunteers to help stitch together the PFD fire hats being attached to the bear heads, offering a personal touch to these precious gifts.

“Sewing one hat takes less than a minute,” said Pam.

Even if you can’t sew, you’ll be put to work cutting out the materials or you can take the leap and learn to sew with their help.

“There’s no shortage of things we can have you help us with,” said Pam. "We'll teach you everything you need to know."

Either way, you’ll leave knowing what you’ve created is much more than just a stuffed animal!

The group meets the second Monday of each month to work on the bears, if you’d like to volunteer, click here or reach out to Michelle Peralta at