FSU students, staff stuff bears for veterans

(From left) Sandra Howe, who made the first Project Hero Hugs bear, teaches Ferris State University students Kerrie Gehrt and Megan Cruce how to sew the noses on the stuffed animals during a volunteer event Tuesday on campus. (Pioneer photos/Meghan Gunther-Haas)

BIG RAPIDS — The hum of sewing machines and the chatter of multiple Ferris State University students could be heard from the Center for Leadership, Activities, and Career Services (CLACS) office on Tuesday. Thread, piles of fleece, needles and bags full of stuffing filled one table in the office, while another held three sewing machines as students and staff created and filled teddy bears for Project Hero Hugs.

Howe guides FSU Center for Leadership, Activities, and Career Services student worker Ciara Kibby in sewing together pieces of fleece to create the face for a stuffed bear.

Project Hero Hugs makes stuffed bears for veterans using fleece, old uniforms and other materials. During Tuesday’s event, Sandra Howe, who made the first teddy bear to comfort the family of fallen soldier Matt Webber, taught FSU students how to cut, sew and stuff the materials to create the huggable stuffed animals.

“This is wonderful,” Howe said. “I’m overwhelmed to see how all these students came in, and felt how I feel when I’m making these bears.”

After each piece was sewn together, the bear was handed to another student to be filled with stuffing and given a hug.

“I know these bears mean a lot to the people who receive them,” said CLACS student worker Ciara Kibby, who learned how to sew the pieces to create a bear on Tuesday. “I think it’s really important that we all take some time our of our day to think about our veterans.”

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Posted by Meghan Gunther-Haas

Meghan is the education reporter for the Pioneer and Herald Review. She can be reached at (231) 592-8382 or by email at mhaas@pioneergroup.com.

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