Starting a New Chapter

The goal of Operation Noah is to get at least one chapter in each state in the United States. With your help, this will be possible. Here are six basic steps to setting up an Operation Noah chapter in your area:

1.      Finding a Drop-off Location(s)

 The first step in starting a drive or chapter in your area is to find at least one drop-off location. The purpose of having a drop-off location is to have a place designated for people to donate the stuffed animals. I would not suggest holding the drop-off location at your house, but some other good locations include your school, a sibling’s school, your synagogue, church, or temple, a restaurant, or even a theatre. Anything could work, be creative. At the drop-off location, you want to have bins or boxes with a sign on them saying what they are for. Make sure the place calls you once the bins or boxes fill up so you can prepare the stuffed animals to be taken to a hospital.

2.      Setting Up a Time Period

 Once you know where the drop-off location is and that particular place has been approved, you will need to work with them to set up a time period for the drive to go on. The time period could range from a day to a few years; whatever works for you. If you only want to have the drive for a day, it might be a good idea to have it in correlation with a special day designated for volunteering such as National Youth Service day, Areyvut’s Make a Difference Day, Mitzvah Day or Random Acts of Kindness Day.

3.      Finding a Hospital

 The next step in the process is to figure out what hospital you would like the stuffed animals to go to and when they will be delivered. It might be hard to determine the exact day that you would like to deliver the stuffed animals because you do not know how successful the drive will be. Depending on the number of stuffed animals you collect, you may want to donate to multiple hospitals. It is a good idea to contact the hospital beforehand. This way you will let them know that you are coming and possibly have them get the media involved when you go to deliver the stuffed animals. For more information on contacting a hospital, refer to the section on donating stuffed animals.

4.      Getting the Word Out

 Once everything is set up, it is necessary to spread the word and let people know about the stuffed animal drive. There are many ways of doing this. Putting up signs is a great way to do so. This is the fun and creative part. Use bold colored markers, paints and even glitter to draw attention to the collection drive. I can send you a copy of the Operation Noah Logo to help. A sample sign is attached to the end of this packet.

 It is also a good idea to take advantage of the media. Let the local newspapers in your area know about what you are doing. They might want to do a story on you.  You can also send in a press-release yourself. The purpose of a press release is to inform the area of your news item. A good press release answers all of the "W" questions (who, what, where, when and why), providing the media with useful information about your project with Operation Noah. If you read your press release and it reads like an advertisement, rewrite it. Start strong. Your headline and first paragraph should tell the story. The rest of the press release should provide only details. If you are going to mention your drop-off location, get their permission first, because companies are very protective about their reputation. Your press-release should end with a short paragraph (company boilerplate) that describes Operation Noah and yourself. Once the press-release is written, send it in to your local newspaper.

 Another form of media is the television. Call news stations and let them know that you are doing something great in the community. Most likely, they will want to come out and do a story on you. It might be a good time to have the television station do their story when you are actually delivering the stuffed animals.

5.      Sorting the Stuffed Animals

 After you have collected the stuffed animals, you will want to go through them and see which ones are acceptable to go to the hospital. Here are a few tips and hints to sorting stuffed animals: Find space. You may wish to get clear large trash can liners so you can see what you have. These are available at Costco or Sam’s club.

 If the stuffed animals do not look or smell new set them aside and donate them to a group like Salvation Army or Goodwill. These are gifts for sick children and they will not be able to be distributed if they are not new. Check the eyes of the stuffed animals for missing paint and the bodies for dirt and wear spots. Stuffed animals that have been around dogs or cats are unacceptable due to allergies. Also if they smell of smoke, they will not be accepted by the hospital.

 It is also a good idea to sort the stuffed animals into groups of regular stuffed animals and beanie babies, because the beanie babies are used in a different unit at the hospital. Please donate the beanie babies to the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) of a hospital because they are used for special reasons.

6.      Donating the Stuffed Animals

 This is the step of the drive in which all of the hard work pays off. Once a good number of stuffed animals are collected and sorted, they can be bagged and are ready to go.  You can then donate them to the hospital you have chosen. You will most likely need help from other people to get the stuffed animals to the hospitals if you do not have enough room in your own vehicle.

 Make sure all of the stuffed animals are in bags or boxes. Follow the instructions the people at the hospital give you as to where to go in the hospital. As stated in step 4 “Getting the Word Out,” it might be a good idea to contact the media that you are donating stuffed animals to the hospital. At the hospital, the nurses may ask you to pass the stuffed animals out or they might hand them out themselves. Either way, it is truly a rewarding experience that you will remember for the rest of your life.

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