When children who have been abused or sexually assaulted have to sit for an interview with a forensic investigator, South Peninsula Haven House in Homer lets them choose what they call a “comfort item.”
Often, that item is a teddy bear or stuffed animal, wrapped in a toy-sized quilt made by Kachemak Bay Quilters. The project has been going on for over 6 years, says quilter, Patrice Krant. They have plenty of mini-quilts stocked up.
“We often make them from leftover blocks from quilts that we finished. Now, we need more bears because we have excess inventory of quilts and afghans. The knitters are also involved," Krant said.
The quilters stopped having their regular Thursday meetings at Kachemak City Center in March of last year due to COVID-19. These days, everyone works at home. They used to present the stuffed animals in their quilts and afghans to Haven House at their annual Teddy Bear Tea. Krant says they hope to return to meeting in person as soon as it is safe.
“Jane Regan hosted it and those of us who made Teddy Bear Quilts in the preceding months would go and have tea at her house and then the folks would come from Haven House and we'd wrap them all up with a ribbon around the quilt or the afghan and then Haven House would take them away to dole out as they need them," said Krant.
Lindsey Collins is the Director of the Children's Advocacy Center at Haven House.
She says they give away about 50 Teddy Bear Quilts a year to children, and adults, so they have something to hold when they speak to investigators.
“Some stay here at the main Haven House office, and some of them go to The Center of Excellence, which is where we see the victims. Sometimes people just go straight there and they never actually come to Haven House,” Collins said.
About 10 quilters have been working on the project in the past several months. What they need now, are brand new stuffed animals to pair with their work. The toys can range from Beanie Baby-sized, up to 36 inches tall.
“We try to keep the quilts – from really tiny, like one quilt block, 12 or 14 inches square, to up to 40 inches square,” said Krant
Kachemak Bay Quilters is accepting donations of stuffed animals to prepare for their next delivery to Haven House. To donate a toy to the Teddy Bear Quilt project, bring a new, stuffed animal to the drop box at KBBI, 3913 Kachemak Way in downtown Homer, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
You can contact Kachemak Bay Quilters directly by going to their social media page.