Soft Toy Drive to Benefit Children in Foster Care

on February 24 | in Contests & Giveaways, Sew Good (Charity Sewing), Sponsors + Partners | by | with 10 Comments

As part of our 6 Weeks of LOVE for Softies series, we’re holding a Soft Toy Drive to benefit children in foster care. We are collecting your newly handcrafted soft toys, stuffed animals and cloth dolls throughout the series (please no store-bought or old softies). The National Foster Parent Association has a convention in June where they’ll distribute the softies to children in attendance and foster parents, to take home to the children in their care. Irene Clements, the Executive Director of the National Foster Parent Association (and a fellow sewist), provided us with a little background:

The NFPA serves as the National Voice of Foster Parents and other caregivers who care for children/youth in the foster care system.  We provide advocacy on the national level and assist state foster parent associations, local foster parent associations and support groups and individual caregivers and others to advocate for their needs on the state and local levels.  Our members are indivicual caregivers, social workers, casemanagers, foster care agencies, state and local foster parent associations, etc.  We support our members and all foster parents across the country with various supports and information on services available to the families and the precious children they serve.  One of our avenues for support is our annual convention.  As you know this year’s convention will be in Norfolk, VA in June.  Each year the location of the conference changes as we move it around the country to hopefully provide opportunities for folks to attend so they don’t have to travel too far.

There are around 120,000 foster homes in the United States and around 450,000 children/youth in foster care.  Many of these children/youth are placed by the state or county in foster homes and a good portion are also placed by the state or county with relatives who have agreed to keep the children safe and well, as do foster parents, while their parent(s) seek to complete requirements to be reunified with their children.

As you can see from the numbers, many more foster families are needed across the country.  NFPA is working with the North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC) and Generations United in a collaboration called Advocates for Families First to encourage more people to seriously consider becoming foster and/por adoptive parents or to help the children and their families in other ways.  We are currently rolling out some tools to assist states and local associations and support groups to help the general population to better understand the foster care system, the children in the system and those adults who volunteer to be their foster parents in their times of need.

Let’s show our solidarity with these children and their foster families by making and collecting beautiful new soft toys and cloth dolls!


  • We will accept handmade sewn, knit or chocheted softies (soft toy, doll, monster, stuffed animal, etc.). IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are also entering the softie you make in the Spectacular Softies Contest, please know that contest softies must be primarily sewn. Although we’re collecting knit and crocheted dolls for the toy drive, they will not be eligible for the contest. They will, however be eligible for the drawing (see below).
  • Don’t send old or used softies. They must be in good condition, clean and odorless.
  • Don’t send store-bought dolls or stuffed animals unless they were made by hand by a soft toy or doll artisan.
  • Please consider boys and girls, from babies to teens.
  • When you ship the softie to us, include a card or sheet of paper with your name, email address and city.
  • All softies must be received by April 30, 2015. We extended the deadline to May 8, 2015!
  • Ship to:

Sew Mama Sew
13850 SW Bonnie Brae St.
Beaverton, OR 97005

Bamboletta Giveaway

Everyone who sends a softie to us will have their name put in a drawing for a beautiful doll, donated by Bamboletta Dolls! If you send multiple softies you will earn a corresponding number of entries.

Christina’s handcrafted, artisan Bamboletta Dolls are created with the finest attention to detail. Our winner will receive a sitting friend-style doll ($191 value).

From Bamboletta Dolls:

Sitting Dolls love to be invited to tea parties or to imaginary classrooms where they can find a cozy seat for their bendable limbs. With their rounded feet, outstretched arms and movable limbs, Sitting Dolls are perfect for children and moms who want a softer playmate. They come with underpants, a super cute outfit and shoes. We recommend a Sitting Dolls for ages three and up, but they love kids of all ages. They are 15″ long with hair made with wool, mohair and alpaca yarns. The body is sewn with specially-milled cotton from the Netherlands and stuffed with natural, western Canadian wool. Includes a unique Birth Certificate, care instructions and Blush Kit for touching up rosy cheeks.

Find more about our 6 Weeks of LOVE for Softies and learn how to enter the Spectacular Softies Contest here, plus find details on our Grand Prize, a Pfaff Creative 3.0 sewing and embroidery machine valued at $3,999! Help us spread word about #6WeeksOfSofties via social media. Use #6WeeksOfSofties to share your new softies and to find softie inspiration throughout the series.

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10 Responses to Soft Toy Drive to Benefit Children in Foster Care

  1. My big brother (my hero) and sis-in-law have been foster parents for 20 years. Infant through 17 yr.; short and long term. They adopted two special needs during the course of their fostering. Thanksgiving at their house is a wonderful time, there may be as many as 30 in and out with hugs and just thanks.
    My ‘little cuties’ will be in tomorrow’s mail. I know the importance. My oldest niece has even started a group at University of South Carolina bringing awareness and the importance of fostering. She took it too the council for approval and won, it’s the first of its kind there. She loves her siblings and wants others to be given the same opportunity. This is a wonderful idea!

  2. Helen says:

    Hi Kristin,
    I’m from Newcastle Australia and what u r doing has inspired me to think about what I could maybe do locally. What are you’re thoughts on using you’re patterns to make softies for children who are having counseling for sexual assault, children who are with their mothers in women’s refuges in addition to forstered children?

  3. terrie says:

    I make Bunnies and Bears with clothes. Is thete a time frame when to send them to you? Love this project!

  4. Erin says:

    Thanks Kristin for getting the word out! JUST yesterday my husband and I signed all the paperwork to become foster parents and will likely be getting our first placement next week. I’ve already made a few monster softies ( to have on hand for them to choose from, but will make some more to send in! It was nice seeing you again at QuiltCon!

  5. marcia kerstetter says:

    I am so pleased to learn about this! As an adoptive mom and former foster parent I know first hand the need for more support for kids in foster care. So many kids in foster care move frequently and are in foster care for too many years. Because of this, they have few personal belongings. How great to give crafters an opportunity to give the kids something that will be their own. I hope many contributors remember that the kids are every age and all will love receiving a soft toy.

    • Kristin says:

      That is something I hadn’t thought of, Marcia. It makes me happy to think of the toys as a bit of permanence they can take with them.

  6. JLVerde says:

    Are there size requirements for toys?

    I like to make itty bitty wool felt toys but if you prefer more full sized items I can do that (no problem!).

    • Kristin says:

      I think itty bitty would be cute if they came in a little bag or box or something that might make them a little less likely to get lost among the rest.

  7. Angela says:

    This is such a fabulous idea. I won’t be joining in, due to international postage, but I might contact our local Foster Care administration and see if they’d be interested in receiving toys. I hope this is a great success for you and the children Fostered in the USA.

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