EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — March is International Women’s Month and once again, WPRI 12 is honoring those who inspire, lead, and forge the way for other women.

For the second year, people nationwide submitted the Remarkable Women in their lives and out of the dozens of local nominees, four finalists were chosen.

Our third finalist is Amy Antone, the founder of the Cuddles of Hope Foundation, created after her son was hurt and needed to be admitted to Hasbro Children’s Hospital. While there, she realized she didn’t have anything to help comfort him since it was an unexpected emergency.

After that, she knew she wanted to help children in any frightening situation such as hospitals and shelters to feel a little better by having a stuffed animal to cuddle with.

While still working her full-time job at CVS Health, Antone researched how to get 501(c)(3) up and running, from the trademarked logo to the logistics of running a nonprofit.

Since June 2018, Antone and her organization have donated more than 1,200 “Cuddle Bags” which include a stuffed animal, coloring book and crayons. During the pandemic, she even dropped the bags off at children’s doorsteps.

The foundation continues to grow and now offers “Hope Bags,” which include toiletries and a blanket for shelters and foster homes.

Throughout the month of March, one of our four local finalists will be featured every Tuesday on 12 News This Morning and The Rhode Show to tell her story and highlight her accomplishments. All of this year’s finalists’ stories will also be posted here on WPRI.com.

Then, on Thursday, April 1, a winner will be announced and entered as a finalist for the National “Nexstar Woman of the Year” award.