'Beary' cute donation to fire appeal

BUSHFIRE APPEAL: Rubiann Meyers and her family have created a team of crafters to sew the Fire Bears ready for donation.
BUSHFIRE APPEAL: Rubiann Meyers and her family have created a team of crafters to sew the Fire Bears ready for donation.

Cute and cuddly the 'Fire Bears', as they have affectionately been labelled, are helping to raise money and the spirits of bushfire affected communities on Kangaroo Island.

Quorn local Rubiann Meyers is one of many Australians across the country who is lovingly crafting the bears.

Originally the bear was created in Western Australia for children in foster care, but the design has since been modified to include emergency service teams.

A request was sent out to volunteers to make bears for the Rural Fire Service to distribute amongst affected families and to those they are rescuing.

Rubiann answered the call and has since been making bears from her family home.

"I've got approximately 40 bears ordered, and not just from this area. I've got a lady from Mannum who's ordered some but, the Quorn and Port Augusta residents have been very supportive," she said.

"I've also recently been in contact with one of the teachers in Kangaroo Island to get a ballpark figure on numbers for children."

The operation has since turned into a family affair and with three sewing machines on the go, Rubiann joked that her kitchen has turned into a sweatshop.

Jim Meyers, Rubiann's husband, is a Region 4 CFS volunteer and is gearing up to embark on his third trip to Kangaroo Island.

With the assistance of Region 4 headquarters, Jim was able to take the bears with him on his second deployment.

"At first when I showed the CFS bears to hand out to the kids, straight away the reaction was 'Wow they are really cool', and I quickly realised we were not the only service there," Jim said.

"Then Rubiann started making more and sent me a photo of the first ambulance bear. I showed the ambulance staff and they were really stoked knowing they are not forgotten as part of the big picture."

The bears are now available with CFS, MFS, SES and SAAS embroidery in a range of different colours.

Rubiann even has plans to include wombat, koala and emu bears to the collection.

At approximately 20cm tall the bears sell for $15 each. Part proceeds will be donated and the rest used to buy supplies for the bears being donated to fire victims.

All enquiries should be directed to the Corral Coffee Facebook page.