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Stuffed animals minister to young and old

As a therapist, Ellen Jacobs knows something about the healing power that can be found in a hug. She also knows all too well the great need among young and old alike to feel loved. That is why Jacobs, a member of East Side Presbyterian Church in Ashtabula, Ohio, can often be found playing with stuffed animals. Well, maybe not playing, but rather inspecting and cleaning cuddly bears, giraffes, bunnies and more, before tying a tag on them and placing them in the church’s pews.

Sharing pandemic voices of hope in Peru

Throughout these times of quarantine, I have found myself singing more — children’s English and Spanish songs with our 2-year-old son, Leandro. These are songs I remember from high school and university choir, hymns, my mom’s songs or just humming random tunes. If I’m honest, my singing is not always an expression of joy. As I write this, we are on Day 71 (May 25) of strict quarantine in Peru, and we are permitted to leave our home only for groceries, bank transactions and medical needs. Our curfew, complete Sunday lockdown and closed international borders also are still in effect.