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Avon representatives to raise money for stuffed animal project

PERRY TOWNSHIP — It may be a little early for Christmas shopping, but some local independent Avon representatives are hoping to get a head start on their annual holiday campaign aimed at buying stuffed animals for several local social service agencies.

The Avon reps are hosting a hog roast benefit beginning at noon Saturday at a farm two miles out Sugar Creek Johnstown Road off State Route 141. There will be signs posted to point motorists in the right direction.

All of the money raised will help the reps purchase Avon Gund stuffed animals to be distributed at Christmas time to the Lawrence County Open Door School, local nursing homes, hospital pediatric units and Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities programs in the county.

Sharon Smith, one of the organizers of the event, said the project began in 1999. Over the years, the Avon reps have had a number of different fundraisers, but this year County Clerk of Courts Les Boggs donated a county fair-bought hog to be used to raise money for the cause.

In addition to the fresh pork, there will be other food, games and prizes and entertainment. Donations will be accepted. There will also be raffles and a 50/50 drawing.

“Everything we make will go toward purchasing the stuffed animals,” Smith said. “When we started out (in 1999) we only had enough money to buy 400. Last year we bought 1,077 and now we are hoping to get 1,200 this year.”

Smith said the project is something that she and the six reps that participate look forward to every year. The smiles the stuffed animals bring, especially at the nursing homes, are worth the effort put in to collecting the money.

“At the nursing homes, many times these people don’t see anybody else. We go back every year the same stuffed animals we gave them before are on their beds. It’s very special when you see that something so small can make a difference,” Smith said.

For more information about the hog roast or the project call Smith at (740) 533-2866 or Missy Spillman at (740) 534-9750.