Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

There is nothing like hugging a cuddly stuffed animal


January 1, 2021

William McNarney (center) with his sister, Rebekah, (l), Orlando Day Nursery Director Liz Franqui and some of the 144 donated stuffed animals he collected for Orlando Day Nursery.

For his bar mitzvah project, William McNarney collected stuffed animals to give to children at Orlando Day Nursery in Parramore, an early childhood center where many families are experiencing trauma and economic hardship.

Rylei Harrison, 6, with her new stuffed unicorn friend.

"They could lose a family member to the virus. A parent could lose work. They could lose the few things that they have," said William, 13, an eighth-grader at Howard Middle School. "This gives them something to hold onto."

William, who lives with his parents and sister in College Park, gathered 144 stuffed animals through online donations and boxes set out at school, Congregation Ohev Shalom, FastSigns Orlando Central (https://www.fastsigns.com/239-central-orlando-fl) and Orange County Public Schools. He and his sister delivered stuffed animals of all shapes and sizes to ODN the week after his Dec. 12 bar mitzvah held at Congregation Ohev Shalom. The kids were delighted and held their new stuffed friends tightly in class.

"It feels really nice for some kids to have something to comfort them during these weird times," William said.


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