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Teddies to bring a smile to children's faces

Red Cross Australia volunteer Beris Gaal helps to make these cute little bears for kids affected by the flood.
Red Cross Australia volunteer Beris Gaal helps to make these cute little bears for kids affected by the flood. Max Fleet

FROM Humphrey to Winnie the Pooh, bears have always been a source of comfort, wisdom and entertainment to children and nobody knows that more than Australian Red Cross volunteer Berris Gaal.

Mrs Gaal said she has worked with the Red Cross for four or five years and had been knitting and sowing teddy bears since the 2011 floods.

"I have worked on probably a couple of hundred," she said.

For Mrs Gaal this is the perfect way for her to contribute to the flood relief and is very rewarding.

"When you see the joy on the children's faces when they're given something they can hug," she said.

"It gives me a purpose and makes me feel like I'm doing something useful to help others."

Red Cross emergency services regional coordinator Collin Sivalingum said the teddy bears are made by the thousands of Red Cross volunteers across the country all year round.

"It is our signature product," he said.

"They are made to distribute to children that have experienced hardship or a disaster."

Mr Sivalinghum said more than 2000 teddy bears had been distributed to Bundaberg children since the recent floods started.

"We stock them in all our vehicles and recovery centres," he said.

Mr Sivalinghum said the volunteers had to sow the teddy bears according to a specific pattern and had become extremely popular.

"The purpose of the bears is to generate conversations with children," he said.

"It is very heart-warming for us when kids return and say the bear has become their best friend."

Topics:  floods 2013, red cross, trauma teddies


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