Penn Manor students collect hundreds of plush toys for kids
BY ELAINE J. JONES, Correspondent
Students at Penn Manor High School could nearly fill an ark with all the animals they collected for children.
For the past month, Penn Manor's chapter of Family, Career and Community Leaders of America has been seeking donations of the soft and snuggly variety from their classmates.
They produced a video, aired during the morning announcements, asking for new or almost new stuffed animals.
After that, they came in by the flock. And the herd. And the litter. And the pack.
By Tuesday, the club had 630 stuffed animals to sort through.
Patients at Penn State Children's Hospital will receive 294 new furry friends, while 336 previously loved animals are going to the Lancaster Salvation Army.
Family and consumer science teacher Elizabeth Sheerer said the idea came to her when visiting her niece in the hospital last year.
"Every day that she was in the hospital, somebody was donating stuffed animals," Sheerer said.
She thought of sending the stuffed animals to Newtown, Conn., but Sheerer said she heard from a local source that the town was inundated with plush donations.
"So then we thought, let's do something for Penn State," Sheerer said.
Each stuffed animal comes with a certificate of adoption, similar to those found in other popular kids brands.
The competition was for the entire school. A prize was up for grabs for the first-block (homeroom) class that collected the most stuffed animals. Sheerer said when the final count was in, the life skills class won.
On Tuesday, she announced that class will receive a healthy breakfast party with fresh fruit and muffins.
FCCLA officer Jasmine Torres said the generosity of her fellow students at Penn Manor High School is "heartwarming."
"We think about these little kids going through things other kids don't have to," Torres said.
"A stuffed animal," she said, "is like their friend."
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