After the sudden loss of their son a year ago, the Batchelder Family has given new purpose to their lives by starting a foundation in his memory. The family had been on vacation in Lake Burton, Georgia, when 7-year-old Ryan was tragically killed in a boating accident last summer.
“We have been blessed with so much love from the people around us, I wanted to give back,” said Meg Fitzgerald Batchelder, Ryan’s mother and Founder of The Ryan Batchelder Foundation. “My husband came up with the idea to fulfill Ryan’s dreams by comforting children in need with the gift of a stuffed animal. He actually insists Ryan gave him the idea.” With every stuffed animal purchased, The Ryan Batchelder Foundation, also known as Little Hugs, provides a new stuffed animal to a child in some of the most impoverished areas of the Caribbean and Latin America.
The Batchelder family travelled to Jamaica with the South Florida-based nonprofit Food For The Poor in July. In addition to serving meals to the hungry in Kingston and helping to build a home for a destitute family in McCook’s Pen in St. Catherine, the Batchelder family distributed new stuffed animals to those they met.