REYNOLDSVILLE — The children in the Head Start classes in Reynoldsville went home recently with a new friend — a colorful little bear to be their companion.

Each child in both classes received the handmade bear of their choice.

The Mission Bears were one of many projects completed by the Crafty Christian Women’s Fellowship of the Vision of Hope –Egypt Free Methodist Church. There was no special reason for giving the Mission Bears; it was “just an opportunity to give,” they said.

Teacher Amanda Keith said, “The gift definitely put smiles on their faces and one little girl said, ‘I just love my bear!’”

Susan Alexander said the women’s group has been making the Mission Bears for several years. “Peggy Willeumier from the WOW (Women of Works) group in Brookville came to one of our meetings and taught us how to make the Mission Bears. Many bears have been made and gone to the WOW group for distribution.”

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Along with the bears given to the Head Start classes and WOW, “Chad Kurtz from the Truth In Nature Group asked about securing some Mission Bears to send to children in South Africa,” she said.

The Mission Bears are just one of many projects the church group creates. Alexander said the group has created “walker totes, catheter bag covers, ribbon crosses, fleece blankets and crocheted hats for the NICU at Penn Highlands. The totes and covers have been provided to several nursing homes for their patients. This past fall, some of the group began working on ‘I Found A Quilted Heart’ ( and most recently the group made costumes for the children’s Christmas program.”

The team meets regularly to work on various projects. Members of the team have various skills — fabric cutters, stuffers, ribbon makers, crocheting, and sewing.

As the bears were presented to the classes, the children and teachers thanked the group for the gift. Pastor Brad Lockwood said, “Thank you for letting us be blessed.”

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