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4 Stories: Mother Bear 
From video from story on local TV news (link no longer available)
By Randi Kaye, WCCO Television (Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN)
Jun 9, 2004 10:20 am US/Central

Amy Berman is known as mother bear. Her home is filled with teddy bears. They are all hand-knitted by Amy and hundreds of strangers, supporting her cause. Amy collects the bears and ships them to children infected and affected by AIDS and HIV in Africa. In Zambia alone, 850,000 children have been orphaned by the disease.

Amy visited there just last month. "So many people are dying there of AIDS," Amy said. "My last day, I sat in a cemetery and just observed. It was like rush hour traffic. You saw truck after truckload of people burying loved ones." Amy has always been interested in the plight of women and children, but it was a magazine article about child rape and AIDS in Africa that spurred her into action. "This finally put me over the top," Amy said. "I knew that I had to act. There was no doubt about it. It wasn't time to just worry anymore. It was time to do something."

So, Amy took a good look at one of her own teddy bears, Teddy Harry. Her mom knitted it years ago in a World War II pattern. She learned to make others just like it. Now, she shares that pattern with people all over the world. They request it though her website.

The finished bears are delivered daily to her door. They come in all colors, shapes and sizes. When each bear arrives, a heart is sewn on to show the children it was made with love. Each also has a name tag, which reads 'with love, from Mother Bear.' It is signed by the knitter.

"I feel great about what I'm doing," Amy said. "I think it's as beneficial to the knitter as it is to the receiver. Sometimes, I think even more so. It feels like you're directly making a difference in the life of a child." Amy has given away nearly 3,000 teddy bears. She cherishes the thank you notes she has received. Many notes still show the dirt on the children's handprints, from life on the streets of Africa. "This is a small thing that I'm doing, but I've realized even small things can have large outcomes," Amy said. If you would like to help the Mother Bear Project, Amy is always looking for donations of yarn and number seven needles.

                                            Mother Bear Project • PO Box 62188 • Minneapolis, MN 55426 • Email Contact