Ava Ruechel remembers going to the emergency room after breaking her arm two years ago. She was in pain and scared. But then she was given a stuffed animal and immediately felt cheered up.
A stuffed animal, also referred to as a stuffie, is something the 7-year-old Marshall girl said can help everyone feel better. Everyone, even adults, can benefit from having a stuffed friend.
“I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t want one,” said Ava. “When you get sad, you can snuggle with it.”
Two years later, the girl wanted to return the favor by helping Marshall children who may need a cuddly companion during an emergency. She decided to raise money to purchase stuffies by selling homemade lemonade and scones at the June 9, July 14 and Aug. 4 Marshall Farmers’ Market at the village’s Fireman’s Park.
“We are very proud,” said her father, Adam, who is also the village administrator. “She came up with this on her own.”
The lemonade sold by the 7-year-old is made by hand, not out of a package.
“We did a lot of squeezing,” said her mother, Jeni.
Ava and her family also made homemade scones to sell out of cherries from the family’s cherry tree and also ones with fresh blueberries, rhubarb and strawberries.
So far, Ava estimated making about $300 from the three markets.
The Marshall resident has already purchased 200 stuffies she plans to give to the police department at the end of the summer.
By going to rummage sales and looking with her family on Facebook, she said she budgeted about a dollar a stuffie to get as many as she can.
Ava affirmed that even boys need stuffies and worked to find cuddly friends that would appeal to them. She worked hard to find stuffed lizards, snakes and reptiles among others.
Ava intends on purchasing more stuffies using money from the Aug. 4 market sales and additional donations she may receive.
To donate, contact Adam at 608-655-4017 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I would like to thank everyone who came and helped me,” said Ava.