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Young Ringwood Seamstress Crafts 'Purr-fect' Fundraiser

Willow Phelps, 8, of Ringwood, raising support for one of her fundraisers.
Willow Phelps, 8, of Ringwood, raising support for one of her fundraisers. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Erika Mathews

RINGWOOD, N.J. — A Ringwood mother-daughter team found a way to keep cats happy and help a good cause.

Erika Mathews and her 8-year-old daughter Willow Phelps make organic cat-knip toys, sell them and donate the proceeds to different charities.

They started last fall.

"It's been great," Mathews said. "We've been doing local craft shows when they have kids tables."

Willow took sewing classes that helped her put the toys together. They raised $500 for a homeless shelter during one of their efforts.

"She loves it," Mathews said of her daughter. "We have a ton of fun doing it. She's very proud of herself."

Willow handed out many of the donations herself to those in need and Mathews said it inspired her.

The duo are huge animal lovers, Mathews said, leading to cat toys as their creative outlet. They have cats, dogs and a horse as pets.

Mathews said it's been a good bonding experience and it gets her active daughter to sit still for a bit.

"It was really inspiring for her to see where [her work] is going," Mathews said, "and how important a pair of socks could be to someone."

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