By Matt Schepeler
Adala Miller of Brooklyn has spent her life “doing for others,” and she isn’t about to stop now.
During a conversation last week, Miller recalled when she served as a foster mother to a young girl in the early 1960s.
“When she came, she cried all the time. I mean, all the time,” remembered Miller. But when they got the young girl to church (Adala has attended St. Mark’s Lutheran Church since the 1950s) the little girl stopped crying.
“I remembered that you need to get the word of Jesus into them at a young age,” said Adala. “They need to know that they are loved.”
Miller has been loving people a long time, and at 89-years-old, she isn’t slowing down. “I’ve got good eyes. I can still see to thread a needle. I’ve got good hands, and I like what I am doing,” she said.
What she is doing is making teddy bears that are given to the Brooklyn Food Pantry, area hospitals, Alzheimer’s care homes and even area police and fire departments.
“The police love to have one in their car,” noted the seamstress.
She has a small workspace near the entranceway to her house that she uses to craft the bears and uses an original teddy bear pattern.
But while the pattern may stay the same, the fabric and character can change. For example, she makes bears for Alzheimer’s patients that are heavier than the ones made for young children. She also customizes them. She made one using material from her daughter’s wedding dress and made some for a family using clothes from a beloved relative they had lost.
Oh, by the way, Adala does not charge for her cuddly creations. Her hobby is, as you might suspect, a true labor of love.
“I wanted to give them to the children that come into the [Brooklyn Food Pantry],” she said. “So many people come in there desperate for help.”
She smiled from behind her sewing machine. “Some people have an awfully hard time with life.
“God is keeping me going, so I am going to keep making these teddy bears.”