So, every year I do the Letters to Santa charity thru the Chicago Sun-Times. I get a few letters from kids asking for Bratz dolls, Barbies, trucks, cars, Hot Wheels and the like. I make a harrowing run to Toys R Us or wherever, wrap them up, and send them away.
In 2008 (remember that year? When the economy was cratering?), I got a letter from a girl who asked for a warm hat. She was SIX and was asking for A HAT. A toy or a stuffed animal didn't even make her radar. Since then, shopping for toys for a couple of Santa letters hasn't seemed like enough. Even in these tough times, most of us are doing pretty ok comparatively. I find it unconscionable that any child in this country, a country of so much, should be wanting for something so basic as a stuffed animal at this time of year (or any time, really).
Thus, we are once again reaching out to you all, our friends and fans in Chicago and beyond, to perhaps spend some time going thru back closets, or overloaded toy boxes and shelves for gently used stuffed animals.
The recipient will be Nicholson Technology Academy. NTA is pre-school thru 8th grade school in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago where Hideout co-owner Katie Tuten works.
The first year, we collected enough so that EVERY child in the kindergarten program received their own stuffed animal. Last year, we were able to cover THREE grades AND still have enough for a surprise delivery to a food pantry in the Back of the Yards neighborhood!
Let's keep going, gang!
We'll be collecting at the office from now until December 12th. We can also drop them off at the Hideout Holiday Sale on Dec 11th at 6pm
We are located at 3039 W Irving Park Road, our office hours are M-F, 10a-6P—a lot of the time we are here later, so call to check (773-604-5300).
Either way, we'll hook you up with a sampler, or hat or some such small token of our appreciation.
Here are the general guidelines for stuffed animals,
PLEASE PAY ATTENTION AND DONATE ONLY ITEMS THAT FIT THE BILL.
THIS ISN'T A GARAGE SALE.
We are ONLY accepting stuffed animals. No toys, games, clothing or other items. Gotta stay focused...
a) New or very gently used and in excellent, unsoiled, condition;
b) Must be soft and cuddly, not stiff;
c) Not smaller than 6'' or bigger than 18'' tall (they can be a little taller if they are squishy-soft and can pack down);
d) No Beanie Babies;
e) Not animated or talking (battery operated);
f) No TV cartoon characters (i.e.: Sponge Bob, Sesame Street characters, Action Characters, etc.) Exceptions: soft classic Disney characters like Mickey & Minnie Mouse, Winnie the Pooh, Eeyore; Snoopy, etc.;
g) No sea animals, bugs, or reptiles;
h) Holiday-styled animals with seasonal trimmings removed are OK (snip off Santa hats, Valentine hearts, etc.).