Teddy Bears, Treasures, Trash and Time

By Martha Mellinger

Deanna enjoyed giving gifts to her friends each year at Christmas, but not this year, and no more! Handing me a bag of adorable little teddy bears, she explained that she decided to make a contribution in her friend’s names instead of purchasing for them another gift. The teddy bears are for the Holocaust Survivors in Israel, she explained, and each of her friends has been notified and has expressed pleasure in being recognized this way.

And the Survivors will love the teddy bears! Many were robbed of their childhood in the teddy bear and lace (Small)ghettos and camps during the Holocaust. They had no toys or playthings then, and to give them a teddy bear now, will put a smile on their face and give them a childlike delight they never had.

 Nancy was cleaning through her chest of old linens and decided it was time to get them out of the drawers and into the hands of those who could use and appreciate them. Beautifully handmade by her grandmother and her husband’s grandmother, the bureau scarves, hand towels, napkins and doilies were in excellent condition. The intricate stitching and handiwork, long lost to the present generation, needed only a bit of freshening up. She chose to give them to the Survivors.

Many of our Survivors have done lovely handiwork themselves but are no longer able to see clearly or have the manual dexterity necessary to continue. They value such skills and will appreciate the love and labor that went into creating each piece. As few of them have any family pieces to pass on to their children and grandchildren, these heirlooms may now become their family heirlooms.

 Mary was retiring from her upholstery business and needed to dispense with fabric remnants, trims, and sample books. Hearing of the gifts that we provide for the Survivors, she eagerly selected choice materials that could be recycled and pieced to create lovely table runners. Mary’s late husband was a Jew and she had often wished she could contribute to charitable Jewish causes, but with a fixed income in her retirement it was not possible. Now her trash can be her contribution for the creation of gift items to show our Survivors they are honored and remembered.

 Opie is in her late 80’s and lives alone in one room in a retirement community. Because of allergies she never leaves her room, and struggles to find things to do to occupy her time. An avid seamstress, she welcomes the opportunity to assemble sewing projects for the Survivors. Now she has a worthwhile cause to occupy the long hours of her days.

Deanna, Nancy, Mary and Opie …. Teddy Bears, Treasure, Trash and Time … Giving at its purest and noblest and best! What other creative opportunities and stashes of treasures are waiting to be discovered and converted into tangible gifts to let our Survivors know that we remember and we care!

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