Consider it recycling at its purest. Working in the corporate office for a major retailer, Elaine Looney has access to plenty of sample fabrics, which often end up collecting dust in a box. But Looney has found new life for that otherwise discarded material at Sunrise Senior Living, where she volunteers regularly. “The residents there needed something more than Bingo to do, and I needed to do something with all the extra fabric.” So Looney, who runs a small custom teddy bear business on the side, decided she would teach the Sunrise residents how to make teddy bears using all of that fabric. “I originally suggested they give the teddy bears to their grandkids — but they said they wanted to donate them to seriously ill children in the hospital.” The Sunrise residents are now preparing for a field trip to Children’s Medical Center, where they will hand-deliver those teddy bears to patients. Looney says she hopes this is just the first of many visits they make. “When you watch them make these bears, you can’t help but smile. They’re talking, laughing — you can just tell they feel good knowing they’re creating something tangible that is going to help make a child feel better. These teddy bears are truly made with love. In a word, it’s heartwarming.”

To view Elaine Looney’s teddy bears, visit A portion of all sales benefits the Alzheimer’s Association. For information about volunteering at Sunrise, contact activity director Waline Veal at 972.385.5267.

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