LOS ANGELES (CBS2) — A local nurse is praying for a Christmas miracle.
Linda West has been asked by a Sandy Hook Elementary crisis counselor to prepare hundreds of plush toys for the children affected by the shooting massacre in Connecticut, and she needs help.
She has only a few weeks to produce 2,500 units of a stuffed penguin, named “Cory,” and a book that she created with a friend for children in crisis.
Unfortunately, the penguin manufacturer has closed shop and the book is out of print.
West distributes the penguins to medically fragile foster children who she says are often lost in the system.
A poem tucked inside Cory’s pocket reads:
“My name is Cory.
My eyes look sad but don’t be scared. My heart is here to make you glad.
Life has many questions with the only answer why?
I hurt for you and I don’t want you to cry.
It’s time for you to laugh and play. Let me take your fears away.”
“What Cory does is give these kids permission to be kids. They don’t have to be sad like their town is,” West said.
The registered nurse initially contacted the counselor via email offering the 265 penguins she had on hand.
“She went to her computer, pulled it up and literally started crying. And she said, ‘We so, so desperately need these. Can you get them to me tonight?’” West said of the counselor.
When the crisis therapist first spoke with West she asked for more than 600 Cory’s so that each of the stuffed animals, along with the book, would be placed on the desks of the students at Sandy Hook. But, she then realized that the school will never reopen and the students will be reabsorbed into other schools.
The need jumped from more than 600 Cory kits to 2,500.
“They requested that Cory be on every desk after the kids came back after Christmas break,” West said. “They’re all traumatized. She just thought they could all benefit from Cory, because of this horrific incident.”
West said she faces an almost impossible task: “It’s a daunting task but Christmas was made for miracles so maybe something will happen.”
To help West or to learn more visit Angels In Waiting.