Helping Others

Exposures: I Care: Gifts bring comfort to children around the region

A patriotic teddy bear wearing a red, white and blue hat and bow tie is stuffed into a miniature sleeping bag made of velvety fleece. Next, a fuzzy lamb is cinched into a crocheted pouch as colorful as a Mexican fiesta. Jennifer Kimsey calls her project “Beanies in Bags,” and over the past five years she’s delivered 3,000 of these little critters to pediatric units at Mercy San Juan and Sutter Memorial as well as Shriners and UC Davis Children’s Hospital. During the holidays, she puts the plush toys in crocheted hats and delivers them to local shelters and elementary schools in low-income neighborhoods. Kimsey admits she was among those who collected hundreds of beanies during the Beanie Babies craze, but once her children had grown, she searched for a new use for them. Soon others donated their like-new beanies, and it snowballed from there. “I’m happy they’re going to good use instead of sitting in everybody’s garages,” said Kimsey. “At least now, they’re providing a little comfort.” For more information on the “Beanies in Bags” project, email:

To suggest a community volunteer for the I Care column, contact Lezlie Sterling at

PHOTOGRAPHER’S BLOG: Additional photographs and story.

To suggest a community volunteer for the I Care column, contact