Two Wichita women receive $1,200 Helping Hand for making 4,700 teddy bears for kids

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WICHITA, Kan. When children are involved in traumatic situations beyond their control, even the smallest thing can bring them comfort.

That's the belief Rhonda Carra and Gretchen Horner have. The women spend a lot of time together.

"We talk about everything, from when we were kids, to politics to our family, to our pets...oh football girl yeah," said Carra.

But what brings them together are the bears.

"Hey Gretchen. Happy Thanksgiving," said Carra as she slid her hand into one of the bears she was sewing and used it as though it was a ventriloquist dummy.

Since they met in 2012 they have worked side by side sewing teddy bears for children who need something to hold when times get tough.

"You want them to be able to stand up, but yet still be huggable," said Carra.

There are times they'll spend 40 hours a week making bears.

On a regular basis, Sedgwick County Sheriff's Deputy Ben Romero will pick up bags and bags of bears to give to other deputies who then give it to kids, thousands and thousands of kids.

"I know that it's at least 4,720, but who's counting," said Carra.

At $4 a bear, we're talking nearly $19,000 spent on supplies.

Outside of the occasional donation, they pay for all of this out of their own pockets.

Because of the example they're setting and what they're doing, Eyewitness News and DeVaughn James Injury Lawyers gave them a Helping Hand -- $1,200 to help them continue their mission.

"Holy moly. Are you kidding?" said Horner. "Oh, we got fiberfill girlfriend," Carra responded with a cheer. "Wow. I'm almost going to cry," said Horner. "I know. I will later after I calm down," said Carra. "You don't know what that means to us. That will keep us running for a long time, believe me."

When they met with Dustin DeVaughn, they said it took everything they had just to wrap their heads around having that much money for this mission, at one time.

"We're excited to give you this check to help you help more kids," said DeVaughn. "Thank you so much. We are just overwhelmed," said Carra. "This is going to help us for a long time. We're going to buy a lot of stuffing."