Celebrities being asked to join local stuffed monkey collection

The annual Monkey Love is under way and the call has gone out for new, stuffed monkeys. The monkeys (with the tags still on them) will be given to children in need in the Lower Naugatuck Valley area.

Anthony Vellucci, ACT-Spooner House; Barbara Tchakirides, United Methodist Women of the First United Methodist Church; Nicole Polifka, Bright Horizons; Jennifer DeLeon, LNV Boys & Girls Club; Arlene Bellotti, Milford Boys & Girls Club; Suzanne Reilly, TEAM, Inc.

Anthony Vellucci, ACT-Spooner House; Barbara Tchakirides, United Methodist Women of the First United Methodist Church; Nicole Polifka, Bright Horizons; Jennifer DeLeon, LNV Boys & Girls Club; Arlene Bellotti, Milford Boys & Girls Club; Suzanne Reilly, TEAM, Inc.

Jennifer Sneider, owner of J-Cuts at 505 Howe Ave., Shelton, is the organizer of the drive. Her business is the main drop-off point. The drive is now through Feb. 6.

Challenging celebrities

This year, organizers announce they are putting a twist on the annual collection. They are going to challenge celebrities to a “monkey love challenge” through Twitter and Facebook. The hope is that celebrities will join in by encouraging their fans to mail new stuffed monkeys to J-Cuts.

J-Cuts will be keeping track so at the end of the collection; they can announce the winning celebrity who had the most fans participate. Fans should write the celebrities name on the bottom left corner of the package. In previous years, members of country singer Keith Urban’s fan club participated.

Aside from collecting at J-Cuts, additional drop off locations in Shelton include Minuteman Press, 427 Howe Ave., Suite 2, and the Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce, 10 Progress Drive, second floor.

Last year the United Methodist Women, led by Barbara Tchakirides, crocheted 25 stuffed monkeys. “We enjoyed crocheting these monkeys for a good cause — children,” she said.

Last year the United Methodist Women, led by Barbara Tchakirides, crocheted 25 stuffed monkeys. “We enjoyed crocheting these monkeys for a good cause — children,” she said.

Other collections

This year, Mary Finnegan and Lenny Marconi, will be holding their 4th Annual Monkey Love on Sunday, Jan. 18 from noon-3 p.m. They have moved the event to Off the Hook Bar & Grill, 170 Ferry Blvd., Stratford.

Stuffed monkey donations can be dropped off this day or at any other day through Feb. 6.

About the drive

Last year’s Monkey Love Valentine Drive collected more than 2,000 stuffed monkeys to the Milford and Lower Naugatuck Valley (Shelton) 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, the Shelton Police Department, the ACT-Spooner House in Shelton, Griffin Hospital of Derby, the Department of Children & Families in Milford and the Lower Naugatuck Valley-Parent Child Resource Center.

Coordinators also dropped off 26 stuffed monkeys in Newtown to be given to children affected by the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings.

Many organizations participating

Stuffed monkeys have already been dropped off by the Milford Fire Department. This is the third year the department has been involved. Last year, more than 50 stuffed monkeys were collected.

Some newcomers to the annual collection last year included Bright Horizons child care center of 3 Corporate Drive, Shelton, and United Methodist Women of the First United Methodist Church, 47 Franklin St., Ansonia.

Area individuals, corporations and groups are also encouraged to become involved by holding collections of their own.

For more information, call J-Cuts at 203-924-4107. For health and safety reasons, stuffed monkeys must be new with tags.

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