2021 Wink Alliance Announcement!

Official Press Release

November 1, 2021




How one stuffed animal can help kids in central Illinois


Bloomington, IL – Gingerbread House Toys is partnering with Child Protection Network to be the second recipient of their annual giving program, the Wink Alliance. Named after their famous shop dog Wink, each year the program selects one local non-profit to be the sole recipient of all proceeds from the sale of a limited-edition stuffed animal, modeled after Wink, and branded with the supported organization. This year “Wink” is sporting a fresh haircut, bigger paws, and an adorable ugly Christmas sweater vest, just in time for the upcoming holiday season.


For years, Gingerbread House Toys has supported local non-profits during the holiday season. But last year they decided they wanted to make a bigger impact, by focusing on one organization at a time, in a way that kept kids at the center. Last year, Gingerbread House Toys and the Wink Alliance raised over $13,750 for Marcfirst which they used to expand their new motor gym for kids in therapy.


This year the Wink Alliance is thrilled to partner with Child Protection Network. CPN works locally with organizations like the Children’s Advocacy Center and Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) programs to give powerful voices to powerless children who have the right to homes free of abuse and neglect.



Owner Kate Green shared, “We LOVE giving back to the community and partnering with organizations that help kids. CPN is an organization I’m passionate about personally, and Gingerbread House Toys has helped with unique fundraising events in the past. We love that Wink, the best shop dog in the entire world, is becoming a symbol for helping kids in our community!”



As the Wink Alliance continues this year, a new and updated Wink “stuffy” is at the center of the giving campaign. Each custom-designed plush toy is 8 inches tall, has a Gingerbread House Toys logo on his paw, and most importantly he wears an “ugly” holiday sweater vest with the Child Protection Network logo on the front inside a snow globe, displaying Wink’s support for his CPN friends. These custom-designed creations are the handiwork of Stuffed Animal Pros, a member of the Budsies family of brands based in south Florida.


The new Winks are only $25 and are available beginning Monday, November 1, 2021. All proceeds will be donated to Child Protection Network, and Wink can be found in-store, at partner retailers in the community, and through the Gingerbread House Toys online store at shop.gingerbreadhousetoys.com.



Going beyond their tagline of “Play more, Grow more!”, Gingerbread House Toys and Child Protection Network both hope the community will come together and “give more” this holiday season for the benefit of kids in our community who need our help and powerful voices. Who knew we could all do that through one stuffed animal.



Watch our Full Announcement Video!


Local organizations that are interested in participating in the Wink Alliance in the future should fill out the contact form on their website.


About Gingerbread House Toys


Gingerbread House Toys has been sparking imaginations and delighting children since 1972. Over the years it has become the go-to destination for families, caregivers, and children searching for fun, interesting, high-quality educational toys in Central Illinois. The store’s founder, Tami Jarecki, believed in the power of play to stimulate children’s minds. The shop grew and evolved, moving from her home into an original Victorian gingerbread-style house on Hannah Street.


In 2012, the store changed hands and was purchased by three sisters from Bloomington who had been raised on toys from the original store. Kate, Nikki, and Beki Greene had always loved coming into this magical space as children and were excited for the opportunity to not only continue the traditions of before, but also to offer exciting and innovative products, services, and events. In 2017, the sisters moved into the Foundry shopping district on Washington Street, nestled near Bloomington Cycle and Fitness, Coffee Hound 3, and Green Top Grocery.


At the core of Gingerbread House Toys is the belief that when children play, they’re doing more than having fun, they’re learning and growing, which is why fun toys with an educational angle are abundantly available in their store. On their website, you can learn more about the purpose of play as a method to improve creative and cognitive abilities, gross and fine motor skills, emotional, language, and social skills, as well as improve spatial reasoning.


About Child Protection Network


Established in 1990, The Child Protection Network (CPN) is a 501(c)3 organization whose mission is to provide financial assistance to local agencies that support the treatment and prevention of child abuse and neglect.

A majority of CPN's funds are allocated to the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program and the Children's Advocacy Centers in Mclean, Livingston, and Dewitt counties. CPN also assists other non-profit organizations, including the Boys & Girls Club of Bloomington-Normal, ABC Counseling & Family Services, Compass Closet, and Children’s Home & Aid, through fundraising activities, such as the "High Five for Kids" campaign.

CPN is primarily governed by a volunteer board of directors dedicated to improving the lives of the children in our community.

In addition to providing funds to local agencies, CPN seeks to spread awareness about child abuse and prevention, ultimately helping to decrease the number of abused children in our community.




Contact Information for Gingerbread House Toys and the Wink Alliance


Jessica Shull

Gingerbread House Toys | Marketing & Advertising

915 E Washington St #3 | Bloomington, IL 61701



Contact information for Child Protection Network


Erin Jennings

CPN Development Director