Guest post written by Paint Love volunteer Mandy Goodwin.
Last Tuesday, families staying at Ronald McDonald House were invited to join Paint Love and Forever We volunteers in creating an art project. Curious children peered through the door at hot glue guns, piles of felt and googly eyes. We were making no-sew stuffed animals. Young minds weighed the options of making a seal, whale, or penguin. Some new the answer immediately, others needed a moment to decide.
Creating art creates relationships. Volunteers, parents, and children laughed together gluing pieces and stuffing felt bellies. Stories were shared. Dreams and wishes were whispered to cut-out hearts tucked inside the stuffing. Some leaned into their imaginative ideas and created their own animals. Bows, extra eyes, and drawings personalized projects. This room, messy with art supplies, was a space for families to just be together, to create together.
At Ronald McDonald House, families have a place to call home while their children receive medical care. The house isn’t just a place for shelter, it’s an opportunity for a family to heal as whole. Our Paint Love project was created for healing. The handmade stuffed animals are perfect for aching hearts and bodies to cling to. They’re small enough to be tucked into arms and backpacks during travel. And like all of our favorite stuffed animals, will listen and comfort at any moment