Stuffed monkeys collected for Valentine’s Day

Nearly 2,000 stuffed monkeys were collected for the annual Monkey Love Valentine Drive in Shelton.

Holding the donated stuffed monkeys are, in back: Ross James of J-Cuts; Jennifer DeLeon of the Boys & Girls Club of the Lower Naugatuck Valley, Suzanne Reilly of TEAM  Inc. and Nicole Polifka of Bright Horizons. In front: Jennifer Sneider of J-Cuts and Bonita Robinson of Milford Department of Children and Families.

Holding the donated stuffed monkeys are, in back: Ross James of J-Cuts; Jennifer DeLeon of the Boys & Girls Club of the Lower Naugatuck Valley, Suzanne Reilly of TEAM Inc. and Nicole Polifka of Bright Horizons. In front: Jennifer Sneider of J-Cuts and Bonita Robinson of Milford Department of Children and Families.

“Every year more and more people join in,” said Jennifer Sneider, who organizes the event from J-Cuts barber shop on Howe Avenue. “Now that this collection is well established, monkeys find their way to J-Cuts throughout the year.  When people see monkeys for sale, they think of children in need.”

Once again, members of Keith Urban’s Ville members and Facebook fans from all over the world mailed stuffed monkeys to Connecticut.  They collected 1,356 stuffed monkeys, 300 of which were donated directly to the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.

In total, 1,880 monkeys were collected.

The United Methodist Women, led by Barbara Tchakirides, crocheted 18 stuffed monkeys. 

Monkey-Love-2“We enjoyed crocheting these monkeys knowing they would warm the hearts of children in need on Valentine’s Day,” said Tchakirides.

This annual community event benefits children in need in the Valley area and surrounding communities.

Children benefited by the drive this year are serviced by the Milford and Lower Naugatuck Valley Boys & Girls Clubs; Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital in New Haven; TEAM, Inc. in Derby and Ansonia; BHcare’s Center for Domestic Violence Services in Ansonia; Griffin Hospital of Derby; the Department of Children & Families in Milford; International Institute of Connecticut, Refugee Services division of Bridgeport and the Shelton Lion’s Club.

“We serve recently-arrived refugee families, as well as asylees, asylum seekers and victims of human trafficking,” said Laura Jones, manager of Refugee Services at the International Institute of Connecticut. “We serve a number of children who come to us through these programs, either on their own or with their parents, who would really appreciate receiving one of these special monkeys.”

J-Cuts also holds an Annual Back-To-School Book Bag and School Supply Drive which begins July 1.

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