US toymaker Ty, Inc. pledged to donate $1m and ‘I Love Japan’ Hello Kitty beanie babies to aid the Japanese earthquake relief efforts.
TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The president of U.S. toymaker Ty Inc., which sells popular "Beanie Baby" stuffed animals worldwide, presented Friday a certificate pledging to donate more than $1 million and a special Hello Kitty doll to Japanese Red Cross Society President Tadateru Konoe, showing the company's commitment to helping those affected by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
Ty Warner, president and chief executive officer of the Illinois-based company, pledged to donate to Japanese disaster victims via the American Red Cross $1 million, plus proceeds from sales worldwide of a $4.99 special edition of the Hello Kitty doll, with the cat dressed as a Red Cross nurse. The stuffed toy was developed in cooperation with Sanrio Co., the creator of Hello Kitty.
Last week Ty officials visited children in Ishinomaki Red Cross Hospital in Miyagi Prefecture, which was ravaged by the quake and tsunami, and donated the "I Love Japan" Hello Kitty dolls.
Warner said the company will keep selling the stuffed toy produced exclusively for the Red Cross as long as the reconstruction work from the March disaster continues.
"If I can keep Hello Kitty and if I can keep setting it at the forefront...people, I think, are not going to forget," the president said. "We will keep selling this all over the world. This clean-up will maybe take five years or more."
After receiving the donation, Konoe expressed his gratitude for a "charming gift" by the toymaker, saying he believes the stuffed animal will comfort Japanese children.
The Hello Kitty nurse doll hit the global market except for Japan in May. Consumers in Japan can purchase the product online.
If you haven't already purchased an 'I Love Japan' Hello Kitty, help the cause by picking one up today at the Ty store today!
Source: The Mainichi Daily News