Pharr Resort Native Texan Leads Efforts to Benefit Local Children Through Handiwork
by Rocio Villalobos
Through the So Sews Club at Pharr’s Winter Haven Village, Sandra Moon combines three of the things she loves the most: sewing, mingling with her friends, and giving back to the community. The native Texan from Arlington moved to the Valley full-time in 2014 and has helped make thousands of teddy bears for children at local hospitals since.
Members of So Sews gather and get to work every Thursday morning. With all hands on deck, they operate as an assembly line and can finish upward of eight teddies a day.
“Somebody cuts the fabric, then somebody embroiders the face,” she explained. “Somebody else dresses it. We have two ladies that make the sweaters, and then a few of us pitch in to make the pants and skirts. It’s just a group effort. We pass it down, and everybody does their thing.”
Moon said the goal is to put smiles on the children’s faces and let them momentarily forget about their pain or illness. Once they have about 50 bears complete, they deliver them to one of three local hospitals. She estimates the record for created and donated teddy bears in a single year to be above 600; since the group was created in 1998, just under 7,800 have been given out.
“It’s always such a special occasion when we go drop them off with a nurse at one of the hospitals,” she said. “You can tell how much they appreciate it.”
Though the park has a small year-round population, those who remain continue to meet. And in recent years, they have diversified their crafts.
Moon recruited her husband and other talented woodworkers in the park to give the bears another accessory: cars. Most recently, the group has turned to life-size work.
“We’ve been making bears a long time and were beginning to get a little bored, I guess you could say” she said. “So we started making pillowcase dresses for babies and toddlers to distribute to a local charity here.”
While this latest venture has just gotten off the ground, Moon estimates they’ll have a big enough batch to drop off by the time the park’s Winter Texans head home in April. She adds she is hoping to recruit more sewers in the park to continue keeping the group active year-round.
“And it’s fun for us because we socialize the whole time we’re working,” she said. “We’re all friends, and we just enjoy helping the children. Plus, we get to feel like we’re being useful. It’s a good thing all around.”