Since I started my business in 2005, I have been donating to help other kids. The first charity I chose was HUGS Foster Family Agency in Temecula where we live. The money I donated went directly to whatever the kids needed.
In 2008, I heard about Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego. Rady is part of the Children's Miracle Network . I have been lucky and have never been hospitalized so I can only imagine what it must be like, especially for a kid. I started a program with the hospital to help out. I used some of my money to buy toys, games, books, etc. and put together gift/activity bags for the kids in the hospital. I delivered my first donation of 25 bags at the end of the third quarter in 2008. The kids got notebooks, crayons, stuffed animals, and of course, some of my Pencil Bugs products.
For a few years, I tried to do something different each quarter. Every time, it was a whole new experience. I never realized how much fun it could be to go shopping for toys and things for other kids. We did most of our shopping at Target to get the best deals so I could buy more things for the kids. It was pretty funny going through the store with a shopping cart full of stuff that was obviously not all for me. Sometimes people gave me a weird look so I would politely tell them that I donated toys to a children's hospital. That usually changed the look on their face and sometimes even started a conversation .
In addition to my own donations, I also held an annual Christmas fundraiser. With the help of many generous people, the kids received extra things at Christmas. In 2009, I had my 1st Annual Teddy Bear Fundraiser for kids at Rady Children's Hospital. We were able to give 1500 teddy bears to the kids. In 2010, it was considerably less probably due to the economy, but even so, we still delivered 500 bears to the hospital before Christmas. In 2011, I decided to "retire" which meant Pencil Bugs would become extinct. So I ended the year with my 3rd and last Teddy Bear Fundraiser for the hospital. On December 17, 2011, we delivered 350 teddy bears to the kids and Pencil Bugs officially became extinct.
Even though I won't be making and selling Pencil Bugs anymore, I still do a lot of community service work. It may not always be in monetary form but even the smallest effort can make a difference in someone else's life.
To read about each fundraiser, click one of the links below. Or if you would like to watch a short video from each Teddy Bear project, click one of the video links on the left.
"Made by a kid but not just for kids!"
Another "Rady" Christmas 2009 - 1st Annual Teddy Bear Fundraiser for Rady Children's Hospital
"It's not about how much you do but that you do something!"
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Christmas 2010 - 2nd Annual Teddy Bear Fundraiser for Rady Children's Hospital
Christmas 2011 - 3rd Annual Teddy Bear Fundraiser for Rady Children's Hospital