Loving Hugs – Providing Stuffed Animals to Children Around the World
One of the reasons I tend not to watch much of the news these days is that newscasts all seem to focus on negative or horrible stories. They rarely talk about the many good deeds that people are doing to make the world a better place. I love that Mom It Forward showcases individuals and companies in their Making a Difference section who are changing the world – one mom at a time!
Once such organization is Loving Hugs, a non-profit group based out of Colorado that provides new or gently used stuffed animals to children in war zones, refugee camps, and orphanages. They partner with the U.S. Navy and many other non-profit organizations to help get American’s “hugs” (donations of stuffed animals) to children in crisis situations all over the world.
I first read about Loving Hugs in Oprah Magazine last month. Inspired by a letter shared with her from a U.S. soldier serving in Iraq, Wendy Clark, the founder of Loving Hugs, learned of the tragic results of insurgent bombing attacks near where the soldier was based; many of the injured victims were innocent children. Some learned that they no longer had their families and were alone in the hospitals; many would ultimately be placed in orphanages.
Immediately Wendy was inspired to do something to help those children. Not just for those children in Iraq, but wherever children are in crisis situations caused by war, natural disasters, and extreme poverty. She began making contacts with individuals, schools, churches, and civic organizations, to collect and donate stuffed animals that were appropriate to give children in crisis areas around the world, and to give them some emotional comfort and hope. The inspiration for Loving Hugs was born! I had a chance to speak to Ms. Clark and she said since inception they have sent out over 88,000 stuffed animals to children in over 44 countries!
How You Can Help
These “hugs” are sent worldwide to those children who need it most! The power of a little stuffed animal for these children in these stressful situations is far-reaching. We featured Loving Hugs as part of our dandelion moms project kindness that spotlights organizations making a difference and offers a way for dandelion moms to help in some way. Please take a moment to look through your children’s stack of stuffed animals and together see which ones they would want to donate for a child who could really use a “hug” from a friend!
What service projects are you involved in?