A Land O’ Lakes mom recently led an effort to help less fortunate children by making stuffed bears and other animals at Build-A-Bear Workshop at The Shops at Wiregrass.
“I made an event on Facebook,” said Cindy Ross, whose business RP&G Printing, is in Wesley Chapel.
“I asked people to come build a bear. Bring their kids, bring their family. Just have fun building a bear that they’re willing to donate,” she said.
She also announced the event through The Laker/Lutz News.
Twenty-seven people came out to build stuffed animals and 11 others who couldn’t come donated money.
The volunteers made a total of 70 bears and other animals with a total estimated value of more than $1,100, Ross said, expressing gratitude for all of the help.
The people at Build-A-Bear Workshop were fantastic, she said. And, the volunteers were great, too, she added.
“A lot of the people I’ve met through the years — with my business and with the chamber and with my friends — this community is just truly amazing. I definitely want to say, ‘Thank you so much,’ to all these people. This would not have happened at all, if these people in our community, weren’t as giving and caring as they are,” she said.
Ross said she was inspired to organize the event by her daughter, Miranda, who originally came up with the idea when she was a student at Wesley Chapel High School.
Miranda thought it would be fun to create cuddly stuffed animals for kids who couldn’t make them for themselves, and she enlisted a couple of her friends, Cindy Ross recalled.
“We did The Joshua House, and we had a pretty good turnout.
“So, she did it for two or three more years, up through high school,” Cindy Ross added.
Miranda and her friends made 55 bears during her senior year, before the young woman headed off to college to the University of North Florida in Jacksonville.
A couple of years ago, Cindy Ross decided to revive the effort.
“I asked my friends, my neighbors, did a little event on Facebook.
“Two years ago, I did it, and we donated them to Farmworkers Self-Help. I want to say, I had maybe 20 bears or stuffed animals.
“I didn’t do it last year, but I decided this year I wanted to do it again.
“It’s something I would like to continue to do every year,” she said.
“I just felt, just really the calling,” she said.
The bears and stuffed animals will go to children who live in the areas of Wesley Chapel, Lutz, Land O’ Lakes and East Pasco, she said.
“There are so many people and kids in need, all over the place.
Some of the stuffed animals were delivered to Double Branch Elementary. Others will go to children of people being served by Sunrise of Pasco County Inc., Domestic and Sexual Violence Center, and also to other children in need at area elementary schools.
Cindy Ross said her husband, Kent, also pitches in.
The Wesley Chapel business woman said she plans to organize the event again next year, and she wants it come full circle.
She wants Miranda, who now lives in Jacksonville Beach, to get back into the act.
“I told her last night, ‘Definitely, next year when we plan this, we’re going to plan it on a day that you can be there. We’ll make it an annual thing, together.”
Published December 14, 2016