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Milford company set to deliver stuffed toys to CHAD

By GEORGE PELLETIER - Milford Bureau Chief | Nov 11, 2019

It began when Amherst Label Company president Nick Calvetti went shopping the night before with his granddaughter to pick out stuffed “snuggle buddies” to donate to the kids at Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth (CHAD).

Calvetti’s kindness was spurred by Amherst Label customer service representative Jessica Ackerman, who has been at Amherst Label for four years. A year and a half ago, she and her husband Mike lost a baby Jess was carrying to a rare heart condition.

“I believe no parent should experience the loss of a child to hypoplastic left heart syndrome,” she said. “And I hope that by supporting CHAD, I can help other families in need.”

Ackerman took the lead and organized the drive, reaching out to AL’s special projects manager Angela Horner and marketing manager Ruth Sterling for direction.

“I basically went to Amherst Label and told them I wanted to do this stuffed animal drive,” she said. “You know a lot of people. Can you help me?”

Ackerman wanted to get the word out – which she did with flying colors; incidentally, many of the stuffed toys that she’s collected also arrived in various flying colors.

“Everybody has pitched in,” she continued. “We’ve got people from my mom’s work, who have pitched in. My sister created a Facebook fundraiser, so people could donate and we could purchase the new stuffed animals. Some people preferred to donate the animals themselves.”

In addition to fundraising for CHAD, Ackerman has also done similar events for Boston Children’s Hospital.

“People come from all over the world to Boston Children’s for this surgery for hypoplastic left heart syndrome,” she said. “I would have been receiving treatment at CHAD and Boston Childrens, so this was something very dear to my heart.”

Ackerman’s goal was to collect new stuffed animals, tags still in-tact, from employees, friends and local community members. She was hoping to gather 250; she’s already at 225.

“It’s crazy,” she said. “I only have about 10 days left, and I’m going to bring them up to CHAD on the 15th. But after that date, if people want to come and donate more, I’ll take another trip up there. I’m not going to stop that!”

Anyone who would like to help the cause is invited to drop off a new stuffed animal with tags in the entryway at Amherst Label. The drive ends in late November. Jessica will make sure your gift ends up the tiny arms of a child at CHAD.

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