AS the summer bushfires raged and roared, TV news reports and images of the devastation caused to the flora, fauna and, of course, the people, in hard-hit areas were etched into the minds and souls of everyone watching.
Personal accounts about those losing their homes and even their lives in the crisis areas stirred within viewers a mixture of helplessness and, in many, a strong desire to help.
Especially vulnerable were children bewildered by the experience of being swept into the drama and not knowing what’s going to happen next, some losing everything, many worried if their parents are OK, and distraught at the thought of never seeing their friends or personal possessions again.
Some were terrified the fires would return.
Christine Cook said one of the Mornington Botanical Rose Gardens’ volunteers, who was also involved in a knitters’ group, suggested knitting Red Cross Trauma Teddies for affected children. The teddies alleviate stress and give children comfort and a sense of security in worrisome times.
“The response was fantastic and, within a couple of weeks, we had 27 teddies, each made with love and with their own personality,” Ms Cook said.
“They then went through the inspection process and gained their Red Cross badge of honour.”
The packed teddies were taken to Tullamarine and passed over to a friend flying to Merimbula, on the NSW south coast. From there they were delivered to children at Cobargo pre-school and the Little Yuin Aboriginal pre-school at Wallaga Lake.
“In the meantime, we keep knitting,” Ms Cook said. “Trauma is not always felt immediately and can surface when things seem to have settled. A lovely soft teddy with a gentle smile can be very comforting. And it’s good to have a supply as we never know when or where they will be needed next.”
First published in the Mornington News – 25 February 2020