The tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut has affected us more than ever. It’s hard to look at a young child, a kindergartener, first-grader, second-grader, see how innocent they are and think their life was taken away in a fashion that was unimaginable until last Friday.
As everyone mourns — parents, relatives and people across the nation – children do too. Parents can look for comfort by hugging their children and keeping them close, but who do children seek comfort in? Their first best friend, and one that never lets them down – their stuffed animals. Much like children are the rock of their parents lives, stuffed animals play a major role in being the rock of their lives.
In Hudson, NH, two workers set up a stuffed animal drive through the Someone Who Loves You project.
In a story that appeared that appeared in the Nashua Telegraph, Ashleigh Homon and Jenna Selfridge started the idea when Ashleigh said she wanted to “hug and give teddy bears to all of the children of the school,” Selfridge told the Telegraph.
We certainly feel the same way.
Selfridge said an aunt of Homon’s fiancé “was a volunteer in the Sandy Hook School District for years and have been working together to coordinate the drive,” as read in the newspaper.
Donation centers have been made in multiple states across the country.
The Island of Misfit Toys has always held a certain mystique around the holidays. Although an integral part to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, the island is also such a perfect symbol for loneliness and the feeling that you’re an outcast, feelings that for many are unavoidable during the holidays. Stuffed animals are not just cherished toys meant for children, but also symbols of the human experience. Not many toys, in my opinion, possess such cultural cache. Stuffed animals represent the BEST aspects of living.
Silver Spring Township, PA resident Jane Kreitzer recognizes the deeper meaning behind stuffed animals.
In the feature article “Silver Spring Township woman dresses, gives dolls, and stuffed animals to charity,” Tammie Gitt of The Sentinel writes “Each year, the Silver Spring Township woman buys dolls and stuffed animals at the Dollar Store or Walmart when they are discounted after holidays. Then, she takes them home and crochets dresses, sweaters, hats, and even underwear for them.”
We’ve all seen the discount bins after the holidays and how sad the racks and bins look. It’s almost as if you want to reach out to the toys and comfort them, tell them that there’s always next year. For many of these toys and stuffed animals, there isn’t a next year.
What of the children that may need them? Jane has that covered as well! Gitt writes, “She called a local minister who gladly took [the stuffed animals]. Her donations continued for another six years in Florida including one year when some were given to a nursing home.”
Everyone can use a stuffed animal for that little extra cheer. Around this time of the year, we can all use that. Never forget the power of a stuffed animal.