1/8/2018 When a child loses a loved one to death, life is filled with gaps emotionally, mentally and physically. Home Nursing Agency Healing Patch sewing volunteers give their time and talents to bridge that physical gap and give children a tangible connection through memory bears and pillows from items belonging to the loved one. 

“It’s something they can hold and hug to find comfort in and be able to heal,” shares volunteer Janet Smith of Ebensburg, who wanted to get involved after personally experiencing the security and support of hospice for her dad and father-in-law. “I pray over the materials when I get them and ask God to guide my hands as I give them life again. I never meet the families, but it’s like I help them to receive a gift from their loved one.” 

Sewing volunteers create memory bears and pillows for children enrolled in the Healing Patch: A Program for Loss and Hope for Grieving Children and Their Families, as well as some children significantly impacted by the passing of patients in the Family Hospice program. 

Janice Snowberger of Duncansville joined the sewing volunteer team more than eight years ago, after quilting friends shared about the projects they were working on for children who participated in the Healing Patch. 

“I thought this would be a good way for me to help children deal with their loss,” Janice says. “My favorite part is trying to make the bear unique in some way for the child.” She takes special care with the materials – from t-shirts, sweatshirts, blankets and even a military jacket – to give each bear or pillow its own personality. 

Shortly after she began volunteering, Janice created memory bears for four-year-old Bella Graham and her older siblings from t-shirts that belonged to their dad, who passed away at the young age of 33. Affectionately named “Daddy Bear”, Bella's bear accompanied her everywhere, including trips out of state. Several years of snuggling left Daddy Bear in awful shape, and he was returned to Janice's capable hands for repair. Bella welcomed Daddy Bear back home and continues to treasure this physical connection to her dad. 

If you would like to share your time and sewing abilities to give grieving children the gift of a tangible link to their loved ones, please contact Melody Ray, Healing Patch Volunteer Coordinator/Grief Specialist, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 814-947-7200


Shortly after she began as a sewing volunteer for the Home Nursing Agency Healing Patch, Janice Snowberger of Duncansville created a memory bear for four-year-old Bella Graham, whose dad passed away at the age of 33. After several years of being snuggled, a worn “Daddy Bear” was returned to Janice for repairs and welcomed back into Bella's arms as a special connection to her dad. Sewing volunteers like Janice share their time and talents to create memory bears or pillows for grieving children.