PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — A Chillicothe non-profit organization is making sure kids at OSF Children’s Hospital of Illinois have a cuddly friend to keep them company.
Cuddles for Kids is wrapping up its Valentine’s Day drive and on Monday, leaders donated more than 3,600 stuffed animals.
Founder and President Taylor Larson said the teddy bears provide comfort to children during doctors’ visits.
“Not only are they a way to let the kids know that other people are thinking about them but a lot of the child life specialists that we work with use them for therapeutic play and medical play,” said Larson.
She said in 2021, more than 50 businesses volunteered to be drop-off sites for the Valentine’s Day drive. Larson said it is inspiring to see the community’s generosity and willingness to help the cause.
“It’s a perfect example of how giving and the good that is still in our community that can sometimes be hard to see,” said Larson.
Larson said the inspiration behind the drive and the organization is personal because she stayed in the hospital for two weeks when she was eight years old.
“I got a stuffed animal that day and it meant a lot to me and I wanted to continue spreading that kindness and formed it into Cuddles for Kids,” said Larson.
Larson said the stuffed animals will be quarantined before being handed out.