Holly Kraig Helton was deeply touched by a hospice experience last year and decided she wanted to contribute to Haven.

After experiencing a hospice’s “wonderful care” for her mother-in-law in Mississippi, Holly traveled back to Alachua County and thought of a meaningful way she could honor her mother-in-law and give back: creating and selling stuffed animals made with love. Holly, a true creative who loves sewing and writing, gives 20 percent of her stuffed animal proceeds to Haven Hospice.

“I wanted to give back something to those who help us all at a time when we’re helpless,” said Holly. “I chose Haven because you help anyone, even those who can’t afford to pay for the care, and for all the love, support, and work you do for us. It takes a very special kind of person to do this kind of work and I wanted anyone who needed the help to be able to get it.

Her small business, Sarah Scrappy Bunny and Friends, is named in honor of her mother-in-law Sarah Francis Helton. The business started with one stuffed bunny made from materials Holly’s mother-in-law passed down to her and now includes bears, elephants and more bunnies. Each of the “friends” that Holly sells online and at art and craft shows comes with a name and a backstory.

Holly says she loves taking what Sarah left behind and using it to help others in end-of-life situations. “When she was in hospice care, there was such love, such compassion. They explained everything and supported us. They helped us,” said Holly. “The hospice staff made this experience what it should’ve been. That had a huge impact on me and I then knew that everyone else needed to get this when they need it.”

Pictured: Trinity, one of the bunnies from Holly’s “Sarah Scrappy Bunny and Friends” collection. Twenty percent of proceeds go to Haven Hospice.