Bear created in the princess's honor

By Heather Condley Record-Courier staff writer Published:

STREETSBORO - Rhonda Lambert, owner of 303 Cards and Gifts Ltd., is capturing the spirit and altruism of Princess Diana with the help of a bear created in the princess's honor. Lambert's store has received ten of the "Princess" Beanie Babies manufactured by Ty Inc. Instead of selling them to the highest bidders _ which could bump the price into the hundreds _ she has decided to raffle the bean-filled stuffed animals to raise money for needy families in Streetsboro. "We were going to donate the money to the Diana, Princess of Wales fund, but we thought, why not do something for the local people," she said, adding that Ty Inc. has already pledged all of its earnings from the raffling of the bear to the princess's fund. The raffle will be held at the store on Jan. 7. Becoming involved with the drawing is easy _ all it takes is a canned good or a dollar. "For every canned good or dollar you donate, you're able to receive an entry form. If they bring in 10 cans, they can get 10 entries," she said. The lucky people whose names are drawn will have the opportunity to purchase the royal purple teddy bear with a white rose on it's chest for $25. And, if one person's name is drawn twice, they'll be able to buy two bears, Lambert said. "We've seen an ad (for this Beanie Baby) for $2,500 and they're selling them for $500 on the Internet, so we thought $25 was good," she said. After the raffle, Lambert will donate the money to needy families in the city. Depending on how much money is raised and how many canned goods are donated, several families could feel the benefits of the store's good deed. And it looks as though the raffle will be, according to Lambert. "We started (the raffle) last Wednesday and already have 14 boxes of canned goods," she said. In addition to Princess, she said the store is still seeing a high demand for the other members of the Beanie Baby family and recently received a new shipment from the company. "We're still seeing the same rush, which has been good (for business). In turn people have been purchasing other things," she said. "Sometimes, the phone (calls) get out of hand, but we've had a great time doing it." While the sale of the other Beanie Babies hasn't always been orderly, Lambert said having a raffle seemed to be the only fair way of selling the few Princess Beanie Babies they have. "We could have kept the money, but we thought that since this is what Di's motto is we'd share it with the people from our community," she said. The Beanie Baby, like its counterparts, comes with a heart-shaped tag that gives the bear's name and a short "poem." Princess's tag says: "Like an angel, she came from heaven above, she shared her compassion, her pain her love. "She only stayed with us long enough to teach the world to share, to give, to reach."

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