The Story of the 500 frogs

In March of 2011, the city of Fukushima, Japan was hit with a huge earthquake, followed by a devastating tsunami. Thousands of people lost their lives and thousands more were destroyed as entire cities were forever washed out to sea.

The destruction caused by this disaster was worse then anyone could imagine. Families were lost and separated and livelihoods were ruined. Many people ended up living in temporary government housing even for years to come.
Many countries and organizations stepped up to help the Japanese people . Their suffering touched the hearts of all. WE were especially moved by the thought of the children who had lost EVERYthing they owned. All their toys, even friends and relatives. We wanted to do something special for them.
Many years ago, Randy sculpted a little frog out of clay, just for the fun of it. We had it fired and it just hung out here. One day, Randy made a mold of the little frog, and we started using the resin casts as donations to various charitable groups raising money for their school, or for animal shelters...the children would paint the frogs, and then sell them to make money for their cause.

Over the years, we have donated literally thousands of these frogs! Well, it happened that we had a box of about 100 resin frogs just sitting here, so we asked some of our model horse artists if they would help decorate and paint the frogs, we would find a way to get them to the children of Japan. Within days, we had volunteers for over 300 frogs!

The love and compassion from the model horse community quickly spread further and before I knew it, schools and organizations all over the world wanted to participate in our frog project. Even hospitals and healing centers volunteered to paint frogs for the children of Japan. I had named the project 500 Frogs in hopes of being able to send 500 frogs to Japan, but in the end, nearly 800 frogs found their way to the hands of children and victims of the disaster. Artists, children, and all kinds of people, all over the world painted a special frog, signed it and included a word of encouragement on the bottom of the frog. Sometimes they even wrote brief, heartfelt letters to the future owner of their frog.  And to add to the miracle, other people even sewed or knitted tiny pouches so each frog would have it's own protective little pouch to travel in. every one was different, and a beautiful labor of love.

We ended up casting so many frogs, we had to build new molds! Frogs were coming and going like crazy around here. The energy was amazing. People were ordering frogs (we only charged enough to cover the actual cost of resin and shipping of the frogs to the artists, and they would ship them back to us) and sending them back like crazy.

I actually cataloged all the frogs and numbered them and photographed every single one. Then, each individual frog had to be matched to the perfect pouch. Then, if they had a letter, it would be included and they would be put into a plastic bag to assure they were protected on their journey to Japan.

We actually didn't know a soul in Japan who could take on the task of getting these frogs into the hands of the children! But miracles abounded and we were put in touch with Anne Thomas, an American Professor in Fukushima who taught English. She graciously saw every frog into the hands of the children, and also provided us with pictures. Anne has since become a beloved friend who continues to keep us updated to the progress Japan is making in rebuilding.

It was our goal that children and the people of Japan would have  this little frog, this little 'token' from somewhere in the world...someone poured their love and caring out for them. They were not forgotten. Even if it is just a little resin frog, someone in another country cared enough to put their loving energy into it and send it to them. Some day, the Children of Japan will become leaders in this world, and they will remember this heartfelt act of kindness from a complete stranger and perhaps it will influence their decisions for perpetuating peace in this world.
Painting these little frogs for the children of Japan didn't just heal the child receiving it. Healing and love was going on with the person who was doing the painting!  As the world sent money and supplies to Japan, there were many folks who wanted to help the Japanese people but they didn't have any money to send. But they could send their love and compassion and this little frog was a perfect messenger. Some of the letters, written by disadvantaged kids in this country, who they, themselves, had nothing, were so touching as they sent their best wishes and hope for the future. The Japanese revere the frog and consider it a symbol of returning They have, indeed, been returning to their land.