RUMFORD — New stuffed animals, puzzles, books and coloring books were collected and donated to Rumford Hospital’s Cuddler program by members of the Mt. Zircon chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star 142 of King Hiram Lodge of Dixfield on Thursday.

Member Beverly Cobb said that two years ago, when she served as the organization’s worthy matron, she thought that the group should donate to a cause for children, as it was the Order of the Eastern Star’s Year of Children.

So members from the Dixfield lodge, who live in Dixfield, Rumford, Mexico, Bethel, Peru and Turner, worked together to produce items that might comfort a child in need.

“Our intention — our hope — is that when children come to the hospital and are hurt, these (toys) will help them to relax a little and (give them) comfort or give them something to do while they wait to see a doctor,” Cobb said.

Central Maine Medical Center’s system director of Volunteer Services Susan Hedrich said that the the Cuddler Program at the hospital is designed for donations of stuffed animals and other toys to comfort children and older patients with dementia.

“If they are agitated or afraid, (the staff) gives them a stuffed animal to help calm them down,” she said. “We leave it up to the staff to hand the toys out at their discretion,” Hedrich said, adding that any donated items must be new and not gently used.


Aside from the group’s donation to the Cuddler Program, it also donates to many charitable causes such as the Heart Fund, dyslexia and cancer research and the Knights Templar Eye Foundation, Eastern Star member Darlene Hayden said.

There is also the Eastern Star Award for Religious Leadership, a scholarship for religious training of ministers and hospital chaplains.

“The members of the Order of the Eastern Star are dedicated women and men who sincerely reflect the spirit of fraternal love and the desire to work together for good,” she said of the organization’s mission statement. 

The organization is currently looking for new members and they would also appreciate ideas for community outreach.

The group is planning a public supper on Friday, Feb. 24, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at the King Hiram Lodge in Dixfield at 795 River Road (Route 2). A $5 donation is requested, with all proceeds going to charity. Three types of baked beans will be served, along with  macaroni and cheese, American chop suey, cole slaw, biscuits, shepherd’s pie, hot dogs, ham and desserts.

To find out about membership requirements, visit or contact Hayden at [email protected]

[email protected]


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.