Shhhhh! I have a little project that just started that I would like to keep under control, but I do need a little help. So, shhhhhh! This is just for your eyes!
In the comments on my most recent Christmas Crazy post, there was a question about whether or not Womansplace can accept used stuffed animals as donations. The short answer is that they cannot because of safety and health concerns, but the question led to an idea and has now led to me committing to making a little magic happen.
Welcome Packets for kids.
Right now when children check into the emergency shelter, they are given a toothbrush and a few other absolute essentials. Wouldn't it be nice if they were to get those essentials along with a few "comfort" items? Like, maybe a small stuffed animal, a small toy, some crayons, a coloring book, and some socks/slippers to wear around the shelter? Maybe all of it packed into a small drawstring backpack?
I think it's something we can totally make happen.
On average, about 15 kids per month pass through the shelter, so we aren't talking about a huge undertaking here. To get things started, I have offered to provide 20 Welcome Packets in early January. To get those put together, I need 20 used but IN EXCELLENT CONDITION stuffed animals. Think "I would give this to my nieces or nephews and not feel guilty at all" condition. They must fit into a gallon-size plastic bag. I've already recruited some help in getting those used stuffed animals thoroughly cleaned and sanitized, so there's no need to douse them in Lysol or anything, but they should appear to be in new condition.
I'll do a little fundraising to take care of the other parts of the Welcome Packets, but I wanted to offer the chance to unload some used stuffed animals to you guys first. I can only take 20 for now, so whoever comments first with a commitment for the January supply is the winner (please provide a quantity that you can provide). The rest of you will have to wait until the next round.
Once the holiday smoke clears a bit, I will try to make it a mission to see if the other shelters in the area could benefit from the same sort of thing. Fingers crossed that they can because it sure would be nice to find a home for all of those perfectly-good-but-not-loved stuffed animals we all have in our houses.