By Guest Blogger Tina Williams
Furry Hugs, a 501c3 nonprofit organization, spreads furry hugs and love across the entire state of North Carolina! Furry Hugs is just as it is named. We purchase, package and deliver small stuffed animals to local hospitals for doctors and nurses to give to patients who are sick, scared, alone, or hurt.
Furry Hugs was founded in 2014. It all began with a simple trip out to pick up pizza. As Richard Williams, an Advance, NC native passed the new Wake Forest Baptist Health Davie Medical Center construction site, he began to think of how much his little hometown was growing. They were getting a new hospital!
As he passed by the lights, and bones of soon to be hospital rooms, he flashed back to the time he almost lost his wife, Elaine. During a routine hospital procedure, Elaine’s body reacted in an unexpected way, and the family almost suffered a great loss. Thankfully Elaine recovered in Intensive Care Unit (ICU), and while there she held tight to a palm sized stuffed dog, she named ICU.
At that moment Mr. Williams had an idea! Little ICU had brought so much comfort to his wife, and a little light heartedness to an otherwise terrifying experience – and here was the beginning of a new hospital…and so on his way to pick up dinner, the idea of Furry Hugs was born.
Since 2014, Elaine has walked into hospitals all over North Carolina delivering boxes full of palm-sized stuffed animals to bring comfort to patients just the way little ICU did for her. She and Mr. Williams, along with their family work continuously to help Furry Hugs reach as many patients as possible.
A Furry Hug may be handed to a child who is having stitches put in, given to an elderly patient while they wait for family to arrive, or cuddled by a toddler having an x-ray. You never know how scary hospital situations can feel until you endure them yourself, and we know firsthand that a hug goes a long way!
Over the years Furry Hugs has developed ongoing relationships with doctor’s offices, hospitals and volunteer groups to achieve our goals of comforting patients. We evaluate every need brought to our attention in the community, but oftentimes the requests outweigh our funds. This is where we look for support within the community. Often the requests exceed the funds that are available, which requires us to look to our corporate sponsors for help. We’d prefer never to say NO to offering comfort.
Furry Hugs uses donations to purchase and deliver more comfort and happiness to our community! If your youth group, church congregation, scout troop or family are looking for a way to be present in the community please consider a service work project to raise money as a donation. We know money feels less personal, but it allows us to make the largest impact!
Beyond fundraising we can also use volunteers. Do you need to earn hours in scouts? Come volunteer! Do you need community service hours for school? We can use you!! Do you just want to become involved in something that you know would have made you feel better at a scary time? We would love to have your experience and helping hand. Ages 7 and up are welcome to volunteer at Furry Hugs. A parent or guardian must remain present for volunteers 7-16 years of age. Currently we are in need of volunteers to help package Furry Hugs to be delivered statewide to hospital patients.
To reach us:
eBay store: ebay.com/usr/furryhugs
Contact: Elaine Williams or Tina Williams (704) 638-0115
Furry Hugs Inc.
1310 Richard Street
Salisbury, NC 28144
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