rs_200

We Believe...

..that the solution to inequality, pain, suffering, and lack in the world is ‘those that have’ sharing willingly from the heart with ‘those that have not’ who are sick and/or needy.

Warm clothing and bedding for babies, quilts for the aged or ill, books for the disadvantaged, essentials and household goods for those who have lost everything in floods, house fires, or due to job loss; these are just some of the need we assist with. You can help.
 

Jan
21

Relief Share Comfort Toys change lives! You can help!

By

Relief Share Comfort Toys Change Lives For the Better…You Can Help!

Knitted gnomes donated for sick and needy children

In the aftermath of a disaster, one of the most powerful tools in a rescuer’s armory is the ability to distribute soft toys to children who are traumatized. This has long been recognized as an effective way of helping traumatized children, and it is worth considering exactly why this is. It also helps us to understand the importance of the work we do in sending handmade items, such as toys, to aid agencies.

The Invisible Power of Toys

We all know that children love their soft toys, but have you ever wondered about the psychological reasons behind this attachment? Researchers Bruce Hood, of the University of Bristol, and Paul Bloom of Yale University  conducted a study into the phenomena of attachment items – blankets or toys – and their results were striking. They ascertained that children believe that their toys have an ‘essence’, or life force, qualities that cannot be replicated. When offered the chance to have their toy ‘duplicated’ an overwhelming majority chose the original item over the duplicate. Professor Hood comments, “We anthropomorphize objects, look at them almost as if they have feelings. The children know these objects are not alive but they believe in them as if they are.” This behavior can be seen in adults too. After a burglary, even if the house contents are fully protected and stolen items replaced with identical ones, there remains a sense of dissatisfaction and loss. The new object never seems to replace the original. It seems that imbuing objects with special significance and regarding them as having an essential essence is not confined to children. In fact, it the cultural norm in some cultures. Professor Hood points out the some eastern beliefs centre around the idea that all things have a life force. Some cultures even find it hard to live in other people’s homes as they have a strong belief that there is ‘something intangible’ left behind by the previous occupants.

Transitional Objects

With this research in mind, imagine a child losing everything in a natural disaster? Imagine if their precious toy was lost forever, and they had to cope without comfort, in the midst of chaos and possibly bereavement. This is where aid shipments of toys can really help rescuers. Because even if the soft toys they distribute are not the ‘originals’, they still offer huge comfort to traumatized children. Many children in disaster areas will never have owned a soft toy of course. For these children, having something soft and comforting to hold, such as a toy or blanket, has shown to be highly effective in emotional recovery. In the west, up to 70% of children have a comfort object, since they tend to sleep apart from their parents at an early age. This is significant. Children in societies where this is not the norm may not have soft toys, but the importance of the parent in a sense of security is consequently even higher. To lose a parent in a disaster for these children is psychologically devastating. ‘Transitional objects’ (a physical object, which takes the place of the mother-child bond) become even more crucial in the days before proper support can be put in place in the rebuilding of a country.

Rescuers

Rescuers find that important links can be made with children in disaster areas or war zones if they are able to give them a soft toy to hold. There are several charities in the US who make sure that firefighters and policemen are kept stocked up with teddies for their vehicles, just in case they have to deal with a traumatized child. Their testimony proves that soft toys make a big difference.

Toys Change Lives

Aid workers in danger hotspots around the globe provide similar anecdotal evidence. The power of softness and comfort cannot be underestimated. Traumatized children can confide in a teddy bear in a way that may not be possible with an adult. Toys are frequently used in play therapy for this very reason, where they are known to improve feelings of social inclusion and pro-social behavior. The attachment that is formed between a child and the toy they are given cannot be more powerful. The gifts that you make and send abroad change lives, and bring comfort where there is despair. You can knit and sew in the knowledge that your work is making a difference to children somewhere in the world.

There are hundreds of free patterns for simple soft toys here.  Make some toys, or send supplies to make toys to:

Relief Share, 6078 Lundy Rd, Houston, MO 65483-2225.

 

Share

8 Comments

1

Could you tell me what size needles you use for the cocoons? I want to use circular needles and would like to know what size and lenth of the needles do I need. Thank YOu & God Bless

2

Hi Frances, We love to use Addi Turbo circular needles #7 that are 16″ long. We also use worsted weight or sport yarn with these needles.

3

Besides hand-made stuffed bears/animals , do you accept donations of Beanie Baby bears and animals?

4

Thank you so much for asking, yes we accept all kinds of toys, animals, books, childrens movies, etc – it makes life bearable for the children in hospital and a soft stuffed toy in the emergency room will calm the child enough for the medics to work on them ;-)

5

How many skeins are needed for the cocoon? Would love to make some

6

It takes 2 skeins to make a cocoon. If it is a smaller cocoon, you will use just over one skein and have some left to make a matching hat. For a med to large cocoon, there won’t be enough for a hat. Have fun making cocoons – they are addictive and fun ;-)

7

what size flat needles-sorry I am a beginner. Could you use double knitt yarn?

8

Use the needle size for making cocoons that are indicated on the yarn package :-) You are trying to get a cocoon that is 9 to 10″ wide and 19 to 20″ long. You can use any size or kind of yarn you like to do this, but with our pattern, we use worsted weight yarn and size 7 needles!

Carol Green/President
info@ReliefShare.org

Leave a Comment


© 2014 Relief Share. All Rights Reserved

PLEASE SEND DONATIONS TO:

Relief Share,
6078 Lundy Rd,
Houston, Missouri 65483-2225


Phone 417-260-2505
Web site: www.ReliefShare.org
Blog: www.ReliefShare.org/wordpress
E-mail: info@ReliefsShare.org 

Relief Share is a 501 (c) 3 non profit charity. All donations are tax deductible.

"Relief Share" "love in action" and "giving relief through sharing" are trademarks of Relief Share, Inc