WARREN - Hundreds of stuffed animals and pillow pets were brought into the Clothes Closet at the Emmanuel Lutheran Church so local children would have something warm and cuddly for the holidays.
The recent donation was made possible by Howland resident Olivia Patchen, who earned her Girl Scout Gold Award with the donation.
Patchen, 17, a senior at Ashtabula County Technical and Career Center, said she learned that a lot of area children often do not get many gifts at Christmas and some none at all.
"It was upsetting that the kids did not even have something to hold or love. I decided to make pillow pets and collect stuffed animals to be distributed from the Emmanuel Lutheran Church Clothes Closet,'' Patchen said.
Patchen said she was able to collect more than 200 stuffed animals and make 54 pillow pets.
"We made a lot," said Patchen, who is a member of Girl Scout Troop 598 in Howland, and had assistance from other Scouts who contributed to the effort.
"The pillow pets have little faces that were sewn on and then arms with velcro attached,'' she said.
Patchen said she had been collecting stuffed animals for many months.
"It will be nice of the kids to get something," she said.
Lucille Bickel of the Closet Clothes at Emmanuel Church said they help 400 children in the area, and each child will get a pillow pet or a stuffed animal.
Bickel said the center helps local parents who call for Christmas needing toys and clothes.
''This will guarantee that the children will have something under their Christmas tree. It is sad if there is nothing under the tree. I wanted to do something to change that,'' Patchen said.
Scout leader Barbara Rosenblum said some pillow pets and stuffed animals have been given to nursing homes and residents of Hospice of the Valley.
Patchen, daughter of Pat and Virginia Patchen, is scheduled to receive her Gold Award shortly.