Seventy children who are suffering the loss of a loved one will feel a little bit cozier thanks to the six cases of Tommy Moose stuffed toys donated by members of Victor Valley Moose Lodge #1808 in Hesperia.


The fluffy, brown stuffed toys with antlers and big ears will help youngsters aged 6 to 18 who will attend Camp Erin on July 23-25. The camp takes place at Cedar Lake Camp in Big Bear. Campers attend free, thanks to the Visiting Nurse Association of the Inland Counties.


The campers have lost a parent, sibling, other family members or in some cases, a classmate.


"Pretty much if someone has died and it bothers them, then they can use the program," said Rob McEvoy, bereavement services coordinator for the Mourning Star Center, which is funded by the Visiting Nurse Association of the Inland Counties.


"The mooses get a huggin' when things get a little too emotional," McEvoy said. "Sometimes a little moose makes a big difference."


In its fourth year, Camp Erin provides a healthy -- sometimes even fun -- way to work through grief. Supervised by an equal number of professional grief counselors and trained community volunteers, the campers enjoy the outdoors while boating, swimming, creating arts and crafts, playing music, and sharing and storytelling.


The Mourning Star Center offers bereavement services at 18169 Bear Valley Road in Hesperia.


"There was a huge void," Carla Thompson, hospice manager at the VNA. "There just wasn't anyone offering childrens bereavement."


The support of the Moose Lodge is a key component to the camp.


"If we didn't have the support of the Moose we wouldn't be able to put on the camp," McEvoy said.


And the Moose Lodge members are glad to oblige.


"We do a lot," said Bessie Havens, a member of the Women of the Moose. "And we enjoy it."