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Young pageant participant making a difference with her Bears for Kids effort

July 03, 2013
  • Tonya Youngblood, right, of Pepsi Beverages Co. in Williamsport, organized a charity effort for employees to donate stuffed animals for Miss Washington County Outstanding Teen Taylor Ammons' Bears for Kids program.
Submitted photo

Miss Washington County Outstanding Teen Taylor Ammons is making a difference with her Bears for Kids program.

Recently, the employees of Pepsi Beverages Co. and Advantage Landscape and Construction took on Taylor’s cause as a community service project and managed to help her collect 48 bears.

Taylor started the Bears for Kids program with her mom, Deanna, in fall 2012.

“My mom and I both enjoy knitting, so we thought it would be fun to get our friends together and work on a charity knitting effort. We selected a teddy bear project so that we could provide hand-knitted bears to sick and needy children” Taylor said. However, the response was so great that she expanded the donation to any type or size of teddy bear to anyone who wanted to get involved.

“As long as it is soft and cuddly, it qualifies for my effort,” she said.

She is collecting bears for her church mission trip to the Dominican Republic and will also donate to other nonprofits in the Washington County area.

Taylor is passionate about her cause and continues to be inspired by those she serves.

One child who heard about her drive volunteered a bear he received when he was in the hospital for cancer treatment. He said he wanted to donate it so that another child could receive it.

“This really touched my heart,” Taylor said. “To see someone giving back to the community who has already been through so much makes me want to work even harder.”

Taylor recently competed in the Miss Maryland Outstanding Teen Scholarship Pageant and won a preliminary talent and a nonfinalist talent award for her classical piano performance.

Taylor has collected 155 bears this year. Interested parties can donate new or gently used plush bears to Taylor’s cause at the information center at Hagerstown Premium Outlets before Dec. 31.

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