Source: Tampa bay Times / Megan Hussey
As a longtime member of Knitters for Charity, a group based at Hudson Regional Library, Ann Mitchell has made any number of hats, scarves, mittens and baby booties for those in need. Yet one of her latest projects, a small dressed teddy bear, has a very big meaning for the longtime sewing enthusiast.
Mitchell is the mother of sheriff’s Deputy Marc Mitchell, with the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office. In the past year and at her suggestion, Knitters for Charity has donated more than 800 dressed bears, which are bagged and tagged to be put into sheriff’s cruisers and handed out to children in distress — for example, when parents are arrested or when kids are taken out of their homes.
Ann Mitchell said that it took two hours to knit the orange sweater adorning the smiling teddy bear, which also comes complete with a decorative ribbon.
“This is a wonderful program that does so much to help the kids,” she said with a smile, cradling the bear. “When their parents get taken in, it gives them something to grasp and love. It helps them get their minds off of their situation.”
Led by founding member Jerrie Hoge, club members buy the toys themselves from local dollar stores. Then they crochet or knit dresses, suits, scarves, coats, hats and uniforms for the bears, along with other stuffed animals like flamingos, monkeys, giraffes and ducks — even fashion dolls.