Children from Our Lady of Fatima Academy in San Clemente were some of the many elementary school kids throughout Orange County who helped make stuffed animals to give to at-risk youth.

On Monday, Dec. 9, children aged 4 to 12 participated in the project as part of the Little Villagers’ afterschool program to make more than 40 stuffed animals that will be included in a toy drive through the Illumination Foundation.

Participating schools included Our Lady of Fatima Academy, as well as Renascence International School in Costa Mesa, St. Bonaventure School in Huntington Beach and St. Junipero Serra School in Rancho Santa Margarita. 

“The kids were so excited to make these stuffed animals for children in need. It warms the heart to see kids giving to kid, and it is a beautiful way to celebrate the holiday season,” Little Villagers co-founder Kristine Darroch said in a press release.

The kids stuffed each plush toy with cotton fiberfill and a gold star, with a special wish for the child receiving the stuffed animal. Each animal comes with a birth certificate with their name, birthdate and place of birth, and an outfit provided by Texas-based Animaland.

“We thank Little Villagers for helping our at-risk youth served by Illumination Foundation. The spirit of giving demonstrated by Little Villagers kids illuminates the way for youth in need,” Amanda Stinson Delgado, volunteer coordinator at Illumination Foundation, said in the release.

Each stuffed animal was placed in a gift bag decorated by the kids in the program, then delivered to Illumination Foundation on December 9.

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