National Geographic Kids magazine celebrated setting the brand new record,certified by Guinness World Records. The 2,304 new toys were sent in by readers across the country and were donated to the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation.
Soon,the new toys will be holiday presents for children,but for a few hours,they crowded the walls of the National Geographic Society building on M Street NW.
Rachel Buchholz,National Geographic Kids special projects editor in charge of the collection,said the animals began arriving in June and came from as far away as Japan,France and Australia.
“We received more bears than anything else,” Buchholz said.
The animals ranged from giraffes and crocodiles to fleas and termites. All animals had to be 100 percent plush and at least 3 inches by 3 inches.
“It had to be a different animal from a different child,” said Melinda Bellows,National Geographic Kids editor in chief. “We don't have that many duplicates,and I think we only have one Barney.”
Stuart Claxton,representative for Guinness World Records,was on hand to present Bellows with a framed certificate,officially recognizing the magazine's world record.
The stuffed animal collection is the second world record set by National Geographic Kids. The magazine also set a record in 2004 for the longest line of footprints,which readers sent in on paper and the magazine posted on a wall.
Second grader Shawn McNair was another special guest. The 7-year-old organized a drive at Fostertown ETC Magnet School in Newburgh,N.Y.,that collected 237 plush toys.
Shortly after Claxton made the record official,the National Geographic staff and Marines began boxing the plush pals that will be given to children in the Washington area.
The Toys for Tots program,started in 1947 by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve,collects thousands of toys every year as gifts for needy children nationwide.
“Last year we got 440,000 toys,” said Marine Staff Sgt. Johnny Noble,Toys for Tots coordinator for the Washington area. “Out of those,I think at least 25,000 were stuffed animals.”
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