The Wofsy home in Westport was stuffed with love Friday as community members packed inside the Silverbrook Road residence to build stuffed animals for children in need.
The 4th annual “Stuffed with Love” open house charity drew 140 families and netted about 350 stuffed animals to benefit the Westport-based nonprofit Al’s Angels, according to Hallie Wofsy, who runs the event with her husband, Scott; and daughters Layla and Maya.
“It’s just amazing,” Hallie Wofsy said. “The first year we did this, we had about 50 families participate. It just keeps growing and growing.”
Each year on the Friday following Thanksgiving, the Wofsy family invites the community into their home to stuff animals, dress them in outfits, and complete the ensemble with pins, buttons and stickers. The finished product is then named, bagged and shipped to Al’s Angels, which distributes the stuffed animals to needy children throughout the region.
While Daniel Westphal, 9, put the finishing touches on a hockey stick-toting alligator, his sister Jennifer, 6, pieced together a tan bear in a denim skirt and jacket.
“It’s pretty incredible how many people get involved,” their mother, Sue Westphal, said.
The event is beneficial, she said, because it teaches children about the value of giving and supports their creative minds.
“That’s what this is all about,” she said, “giving back.”
“Stuffed with Love” has been held every year since 2007 on the Friday following Thanksgiving, when Layla Wofsy celebrates her birthday.
Rather than hold a big party for their eldest daughter, who turned 10 on Friday, the Wofsy family decided four years ago to invite others into their home and create gifts for the less fortunate.
And before that, Scott and Hallie Wofsy were taking their daughters to Build-A-Bear workshop to create stuffed animals for others.
Layla said she doesn’t mind replacing her birthday party with a charitable toy drive for children in need.
“It’s more important to give than to get,” she said.
Those interested in donating to the event can mail a check to Hallie Wofsy at 23 Silverbrook Road in Westport. Each check goes toward the purchase of the gifts, which are used to assemble the stuffed animals. To participate in future events, e-mail Hallie Wofsy at firstname.lastname@example.org
By CHASE WRIGHT (Hour Staff Writer)