MIDLAND, Texas — To some, it's just a friend with stuffing.
But to others, it's a lifeline coming down the pipeline.
"Yes, stuffed animals are a need," Jessi Willmann, Midland Rainbow Room president of board of directors.
For kids in the foster care system, it's the latter.
"The children that are going to be receiving these stuffed animals are children that have currently been removed from an abuse or neglectful situation," Willmann said.
And volunteers across West Texas are making these comforting critters this fall all thanks to Midland Community Theater's excess costume fabric, mismatched buttons and stuffing.
The Midland Community Theater's summer service project is now happening later and in the form of a do-it-yourself kit.
You can either get the stuffed animal already sewed together or in fabric pieces to sew yourself.
"We have an online sign up sheet this year that is on signup genius. You can find it on our MCT Costume Shop Facebook page," Willmann said.
This is the theater's 2nd year helping out these kiddos.
But this year, it's COVID-style, so it comes with a twist once the stuffed animals come back in one piece.
As far as the disinfecting process goes, they'll be putting the stuffed animals in a trash bag for at least 72 hours. They'll take them out of the bag, put them in the dryer at 160 for 30 minutes. Then they'll be put in a new bag for at least 2 days. And they'll stay right there til they end up at the Midland Rainbow Room.
"Having a stuffed animal that is yours and that belongs to you, that you can hold onto, you can squeeze, you can let your frustrations out on, all of those things are helping these children with emotions," Willmann said.
One button and one stitch at a time.