Stuffed animals brighten spirits in Lynchburg


When Hannah Simpson saw a Facebook post on a mothers’ group page about displaying teddy bears as a way to entertain children during the state’s Stay At Home Order due to COVID-19, she thought it was a cool idea. So she made her own post about trying the idea in Lynchburg.

She posted the idea Sunday and said that as of Thursday afternoon, 253 locations in the Lynchburg area, and counting, had placed stuff animals in windows, on porches and at business locations including the police department, library, Dollar General and Collins Customs.

“I was shocked at how many people responded just in the first day,” said Simpson, noting that 40 animals had been placed around town by Sunday evening. “I thought it was a good idea, but I didn’t think it would go this well. … This is insane.”

The idea, Simpson said, is that children that have been cooped up inside their homes can be entertained by being driven around the town and trying to see how many stuffed animals they can locate. She said it can also be a relief for parents, since she has kids ages 4 years, 1 year and 3 months, and works a full-time job.

Simpson moved to Lynchburg with her husband and family two years ago. She said the original idea was to place teddy bears in windows and other locations around town, but that there are now all kinds of stuffed animals displayed all over the village.

At one point, she said, there was a list on Facebook of all the locations in Lynchburg where the stuffed animals could be found. But she said so many started popping up that it has been almost impossible to keep track of every location.

She said the idea has even morphed into people talking about placing positive quotes and other messages in chalk on the village’s sidewalks.

“Thank you. They’re all amazing,” she said in describing her reaction to those who responded to her Facebook post. “I didn’t expect so many responses and I’m really thankful for those that did.”

Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.

A stuffed bear sits on a porch in Lynchburg. stuffed bear sits on a porch in Lynchburg. Courtesy photo
Facebook idea explodes

By Jeff Gilliland

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