The simple tasks in life can bring an individual great joy, but sometimes they can bring happiness and comfort to others, as well. Sylvia Chu had always found pleasure in crocheting and handicrafts, but when she came across Mother Bear Project, she realized that her passions could benefit others, especially children in need.
“In my heart, I am a farmer,” Chu said. “From my apartment in Vernon Hill, IL, I look out at a farmer’s fields and it gives me calm. Crocheting bears is a soul-satisfying project.”
Perhaps Chu learned to appreciate peaceful tasks and creating a gift with one’s own skilled hands from growing up on a farm in Little Swan, Minnesota. Back then, she was known as Sylvia Punkari (“We were probably the only family in Minnesota with that name.”).
“I probably learned to crochet watching my mother, but I can’t remember too well,” she said. “I used to knit, also, but crochet is faster for me.”
Now 91, Chu still describes herself as an “old Finnish Minnesota farmer.” She spends her days enjoying walks, reading, puzzles, and of course crocheting bears.
Handcrafting had been a hobby of Chu’s for decades, and she was always searching to do something worthwhile with her time, so when she read an article about Mother Bear Project in Ladies Home Journal, she was eager to become involved.
“At this age it is easy to feel ‘useless’—a term I hear often from others. Being able to contribute in some fashion counteracts that,” Chu said.
Chu has certainly contributed more than her fair share of bears to the Mother Bear Project. She has already sent 124 bears to bring comfort to children through the Mother Bear Project. She believes that the organization is necessary to assure that the carefully crafted bears are delivered where needed.
“My hope is that each child can be aware that there is someone who cares about them.”