I’ve written before about how difficult it is to find charities that will accept used stuffed animals. I was delighted two years ago to discover Freedom House (http://www.bflnyc.org/freedom.asp), an emergency children’s shelter in lower Manhattan that picked up two bags of my daughter’s outgrown stuffies and distributed them to children very much in need of comfort.
I recently learned of another charity, this one outside of New York. Project Smile (www.projectsmile.org) donates stuffed animals, coloring books/crayons, small toys, and children’s books to police and fire departments, for police officers, fire fighters and paramedics to give to children involved in traumatic situations.
Founder Catherine Pisacane says on their web site: “Project Smile was born after I read a newspaper article about three brothers in New Jersey who were starved by their adoptive parents. When the police arrived to remove the brothers from the house, an officer gave one of the children a small stuffed tiger that he had with him. The child clung to it during his entire time at the police station and refused to let it go. After reading about that, I wanted to start a program which would allow as many police officers as possible to have something to give to a hurting child. A stuffed animal may be small, but its significance is huge.”
Many of my clients tell me they have bags of stuffed animals down in the basement, or in a storage room. Their children refuse to let them go, yet obviously no longer have any interest in them.
If you’ve got previously-loved stuffies that are ready to be loved again, read your children Catherine’s words and see if they’ll consent to move those creatures along. You can see the guidelines at http://www.projectsmile.org/drop.htm.
Project Smile is located in Massachusetts, and also has drop-off locations in Connecticut. If you live elsewhere, you can mail your stuffed animals to them at P.O. Box 336, Hopedale, MA 01747. If you’re sending them UPS or FedEx and need a street address, it’s 25 Highland Street, Hopedale, MA 01747.