Pillow Pets for Pediatrics

Supporting "My Pillow Pets"
We have a wonderful working relationship with the makers of "My Pillow Pets" (CJ Products). CJ products has helped us see our mission through, with our Pillow Pets for Pediatrics program. They are big supporters of helping to comfort children, and are not only profit focused, but give back to the community as well! Just saw a message on their website regarding counterfeit pillow pets, and thought we'd share because TLC is a big supporter and fan of "My Pillow Pets."  We wholeheartedly want to support their brand since they have been so supportive of us! Check out their link if you want.  It looks like the "Snuggle Pets" and "Cuddly Pets" are not the real deal.  There are many versions out their now, but those two brands especially market themselves as "Seen on TV."   http://mypillowpets.com/counterfeit/
When shopping for "My Pillow Pets you'll want to look for the image below to know you've got the real thing. I do know that the counterfeit cuddle pets are sold at $5 and Below.

Happy Shopping!

(Photo Courtesy of Theresa Werner) 

December 2010:  Our First "Pillow Pets for Pediatrics" Drive:

It all started in November 2010 with a thought while at the mall, staring at these cute little things called "Pillow Pets" and from there it snowballed!  With the help and thoughts of my daughter, we both agreed that these cute little pillows that are also a pet would be loved and welcomed by children who are hospitalized during the holidays.  Our family likes to give, especially during the holidays.  Our efforts in the past have always been to give to Social Services to benefit the children that they serve; however, we were looking at ways to broaden our giving, targeting a new audience during the holidays for 2010.  We've been donating to Johns Hopkins Children's Center for the past few years for birthday celebrations, and felt this was the population we want to serve. We got the approval from the Child Life Dept. at Hopkins and found out that they could use as many as 200 pillow pets.  WOW... did we have a lot of work to do to try and meet that goal. 

Determined we were!  We wanted to meet that goal.  Lo and behold, we met and exceeded the goal.  We campaigned and spread the word to friends and family who then spread the word to their friends and family and so on.  It was amazing to watch how it all came together. The excitement and joy in my children as they saw  how truly caring and giving our community was quite a site for my husband and I to witness, as well!  The kids kept tallying the numbers and equating it to a sick child that would receive one of the pillow pets during the holidays.

The outcome of this drive by far exceeded any expections any of us had.  On December 17, 2010, we delivered 250 Pillow Pets to the Child Life Dept. at Hopkins. The staff was very excited and so grateful for the donation! We were excited that they were going to distribute the Pillow Pets at their holiday party on Christmas Eve, and that was good enough for us.  Our hearts were warmed by their appreciation and excitment.  We were hopeful that our goal to provide a little comfort and smiles for the children would be met. 

A few days later we learned that the Pillow Pets were distributed and we received some wonderful feedback!  We learned that the children in the pediatric units loved them,were snuggling with them and that they were a huge hit not only with the little ones, but the teens as well, both boys and girls alike! 

The following article was written in The Catonsville Times (and later published in Maryland Family Magazine) last December about our efforts.  We also made it onto the Pillow Pets website blog and press release link, as well as a few other places.  Who would have known these cute, cuddly "things" would be so well received and loved, making the stay of child's hospitalization a bit more comforting.

We couldn't have done it without all of the caring, loving and giving of family, friends and the community at large! 

And that is how Pillow Pets for Pediatrics came to be.


Catonsville family leads drive to donate Pillow Pets to children’s center

Stuffed animals fill need for patients at Johns Hopkins
By Brian Conlin, Catonsville Times Staff Writer | 12/24/10
From left, the McFarland family of Chloe, 7, Michele, Brian, and Liam, 4, sit surrounded by some of the 250 Pillow Pets the Catonsville family collected to donate to patients at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center earlier this month. (Staff photo by Nicole Martyn)
From left, the McFarland family of Chloe, 7, Michele, Brian, and Liam, 4, sit surrounded by some of the 250 Pillow Pets the Catonsville family collected to donate to patients at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center earlier this month. (Staff photo by Nicole Martyn)

Michele McFarland and her family don’t live in the North Pole, but they are certainly Santa’s helpers.

The Catonsville residents’ Pillow Pet Drive ensured about 200 patients at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center will have the gift of companionship for the holidays.

On Dec. 17, McFarland dropped off 250 Pillow Pets to the acute care hospital on North Wolfe Street, in Baltimore, for Santa to distribute to the children on Christmas Eve with extras put aside for special occasions during the year.

“A Pillow Pet is basically a plush stuffed animal that opens up, lays flat and acts as a pillow,” McFarland said. “We thought it was a good idea for children who were hospitalized so that they could have something to hold onto.”

Pillow Pets come in a variety of forms, such as ladybugs, puppies and pandas.

“(Pillow Pets) are comfort, they’re fun and they’re a hot commodity right now,” said Lauren Swope, a child life specialist at the children’s center. “A lot of children come in with them from home. I think they’re going to be super excited to get them as a gift.”

McFarland, a lifelong Catonsville resident, started the Pillow Pet Drive Nov. 2 with an e-mail and it rippled from there, she said.

“We sent it to family and friends, and they sent it to their family and friends,” said McFarland, who works in human resources for the Baltimore County Department of Social Services. “It touched so many people we don’t even know.”

Instead of asking only for the toys, McFarland offered the option of making a donation to those who wanted to help but didn’t want to buy a $20 Pillow Pet.

To make dropping off donations easier, bins were placed on the McFarlands’ front porch and at the office of Michele’s husband, Brian, on Frederick Road.

She said their children, Chloe, 7; and Liam, 4, would often find Pillow Pets on the front porch and Brian received donations, including one of 12 Pillow Pets at his office.

In addition to local support, McFarland said she received donations from people in New York, New Jersey, Florida and Georgia.

“I was taken aback. I didn’t expect it to be (200 children),” McFarland said. “I thought if we made it to half of that, it would be pretty good.

“They made it clear, though, that whatever we collected they would be appreciative of,” said McFarland, who estimated she spent about five hours a week working on the drive.

Instead of just meeting the goal, McFarland exceeded it by 25 percent.

Making the Pillow Pet Drive accessible to as many people as possible was a priority for McFarland, as was making every dollar count.

She contacted CJ Products, the company that produces Pillow Pets, and arranged to buy some of the toys at cost.

McFarland said she and her family look for ways to give throughout the year, but try to do more during the holidays.

A veteran of toy drives to benefit the children of Baltimore County Social Services for the past couple of years, McFarland said her family decided to change things up after a friend had a child in the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.

“Through their experience, we learned about the Child’s Life Department at Johns Hopkins,” McFarland said. “We figured this holiday season would be a good way to keep supporting them and help them achieve their goals.”

McFarland said her children helped shop for the Pillow Pets, and that she and Chloe have volunteered at a cancer support association and a horse rescue.

“I think it’s very important that they understand that there are a lot of needs in this world,” McFarland said.
Chloe, apparently, has learned that lesson.

“Most of the time, when me and my mom (went) out to buy the Pillow Pets, I would always go with her. I like picking them out,” Chloe said.

“I pick out the ones I would want. It makes me feel good because I’m helping kids in the hospital. It feels really good.”

For each of her last two birthdays, her mother said Chloe has requested toys be donated to the children’s hospital.

Chloe said she will ask for more such donations for her eighth birthday in March.

“You could see how good it made her feel,” McFarland said. “She couldn’t wait to do it again. After we delivered everything on her sixth birthday, she asked, ‘When can we do it again?’ ”

To make a donation to the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, call 410-955-6276.

Article in Maryland Family Magazine - 12/24/10

Look where else we've been spotted on the internet! We discovered all of these by "accident."  Who knew? 

My Pillow Pets Press

My Pillow Pets Blog

Pillow Pets on Wikipedia 


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