I was a teenager of the nineties. It felt like it then, and maybe it’s a phase that continues today that all teens go through as my niece surely collects them, but teenage girls love teddies. I loved my teddies. I had that cute and cuddly bedroom filled with stuffed animals. I was gifted teddies. I had my precious ones from childhood. And then, in the age of Skill Testers, I mastered the art of winning them. Naturally, my collection grew to be sizeable. But teens don’t stay teens forever, and while I struggled to store them when I lived at home – in nets from the ceiling and an old-fashioned wicker trunk – inevitably I grew up and they all moved into storage.
I think they did move around a little bit. I found them last year in my parents’ spare room still stowed in the wicker trunk. But the time had come. I pulled them all out, gave them a wash and took pictures of those that were the most memorable. Gifted ones with love, still soft and fluffy ones, and my favourites. I knew they deserved a better life, to be seen as real and loved and cuddled by smaller humans.
My research into charities found the perfect home. Backpacks 4 SA Kids, part of a national organisation, puts together backpacks for children “who are taken into care as a result of neglect or abuse, or who need to quickly leave their homes due to family violence, or who are experiencing homelessness.” Each backpack they make contains emergency supplies like pyjamas, underwear or nappies, clothing and toiletries, but also a soft cuddly toy to help the children feel safe and less anxious, something that can be their own throughout their displacement and beyond.
I filled up 2 garbage bags of teddies and took them to the drop off point. I’ve since referred others on to the organization. It’s definitely a cause that warms my heart. When my life settles down more, I can see myself creating full backpacks to continue donating and maybe even giving some time to down the track.
You can check them out here:
- SA: http://backpacks4sakids.org/
- Vic: https://www.backpacks4vickids.org.au/
- NSW & Qld: https://www.backpacks4aussiekids.com.au/about
- Or try google to find your nearest like-minded organisation.