The American Red Cross and the Healing Power of Toys


I have often written and spoken on the power of toys in an individual’s life and in our world as a whole. Toys have the power to change a life and to change the world.           

Francesca Edwardson, the head of Chicago's Red Cross and an angel here on Earth, by the way, agrees with me on the power of toys to heal. She has encountered this power personally many times in her work.            

DID YOU KNOW . . . that the Red Cross goes to every residential house fire in the city of Chicago and surrounding suburbs?            

DID YOU KNOW . . . that as soon as the fire department gets the call, the Red Cross gets the next call, and they show up as the home is still in flames with offers of shelter and debit cards loaded for use by the victims to buy food, clothes, and other necessities?           


Bear4web DID YOU KNOW . . . that the Red Cross also shows up with toys? Teddy bears and stuffed animals that provide real and meaningful comfort to the children, and often to the adults as well. Young mothers, and old as well, will cling tightly to a plush animal for comfort as they watch their world destroyed before their very eyes. 

The Red Cross feeds, clothes, and houses those in need. Fran related to me that she has experienced “the power and the joy of handing a teddy bear to a child whose home has just burned down,” which is why she has devoted herself to the work she does.     

Toys matter, toys heal. Toys entertain, inspire, invite exploration and inquiry. Toys matter, a lot!

5 thoughts

  1. Thank you Elizabeth, and the ICOEF. It is God’s work that you and your organization
    do, as one of His angels here on earth. Thank you very much.

  2. We make and give away puppets with bowel and bladder diversions (bags or catheters) just like the recipient child patients. This is a learning tool, a comfort toy and something that looks just like them in their new body image, even teens have responded to a Gastronaut Puppet made in their image. If you know a sick child that deserves a gastronaut puppet please contact or email We are a registered charity in both US & the UK working in 34 countries to help children adjust to changes in their body image. We do not charge any child for their puppet.

  3. Hi Stevanne;
    Thank you for sharing that. Thank you for reading and your comment. You are right. What a great organization. Another way that toys are important and profound is in the here and now, to comfort, and console, as well as entertain.
    Much appreciated.

  4. Thanks so much for sharing this story… a powerful reminder that to a young child, a comforting toy is as much a necessity during a time of great stress and loss as a debit card is to her parents.

  5. Hi Bruce
    Thanks for great report on heartfelt actions of the always amazing American Red Cross. My mom used to teach baby care for the red cross and also taught fireman how to care for babies in NYC. Have photo of her teaching the class many years ago. thanks for a good tip for the toy industry to touch base with their local red cross to find out their needs for toys and teddy bears. The SFPD provides teddy bears to kids in distress. More later. Let’s play!

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