Amputee teddy bears made by local students and sent to military families

A group of local high school students makes amputee teddy bears for families of wounded soldiers. (Amanda Kinseth/WPDE)

Military families across the country are thankful for a handful of of students at Saint James High School.

One of them is Abby Barnes, who stays after school to sew something special for those families.

"This is a sewing class, so we thought why can't we just put the sewing machines that we already had into this amazing process and take our extra time and help these people and give them hope," said Barnes.

The small group at St. James High School makes amputee teddy bears for families of wounded soldiers.

The bears, too, are missing a leg.

Together, the five students scissor, stitch and stuff.

Then they give the bears the hug and love test before they're sent to the children.

"The pictures and the videos that come back are just amazing," said Laura Coffren, the teacher helping with the Amputee Teddy Bear Project. "One little tiny boy, he couldn't have been more than 2 years old, as soon as he took it out of the box, he just grabbed it and laid down on the floor, hugging it."

The bears give children the ability to hug a teddy that looks like their parent, and seeing that happen is powerful, students say.

"I like seeing the children finally get that connection to their loved one that they've been looking for," said Molly Yarchin, another student making amputee teddy bears.

"I cry all the time when I see the videos and the pictures of these families," said Barnes. "It's just hard to keep everything in, but it's amazing."

The amputee teddy bears are made out of military uniforms and anyone who has a uniform to donate can drop it off at St. James High School.

The students are members of the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America. They are also collecting donations for a trip to California. They recently won a gold medal in the SCFCCLA Chapter Service Project competition held in Charleston, which qualified them for the national competition in San Diego.

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