A group of area teenagers armed with bright smiles and teddy bears will once again spread Christmas cheer at Conemaugh Memorial as part of the Cuddles for Kids (CFK) program.
Cuddles for Kids, now in its 11th year, was started by Conner Hagins a La Roche College sophomore and Johnstown native. Hagins has provided small gifts to hospitalized patients for many years.
His generosity grew from his own experience following his father’s hospitalization when Conner was 9-years-old. “My dad had open heart surgery,” says Hagins. “Someone gave him a teddy bear to help with his coughing and I thought that was really kind. I wanted to do something similar to make people feel better, especially around the holidays.”
Cuddles for Kids has grown a lot since its beginning. In the past 11 years CFK has donated over 145,000 toys, coloring books and stuffed animals and thousands of dollars in grants to children's agencies here at home and around the USA and the World. “We get great community support,” says Hagins. “Each year many businesses hold collection drives and we have plenty of great volunteers to help with the deliveries. We are really excited to have so many people help us reach out to help those in need.”
“This has become a great holiday tradition,” says Amy Bradley, Director of Marketing Communications for the Conemaugh Health System. “It really brightens the day for our patients and visitors. Being in the hospital is tough, especially around the holidays. Patients really appreciate the thoughtfulness.”
For more information on the Cuddles for Kids program, check out our Facebook page for updated information. Monetary donations may be sent to The Cuddles for Kids Fund, 116 Market Street, Johnstown, PA, 15901.