There is nothing fun about spending the holidays in the hospital, especially if you are a kid. Understanding how terrible this can be, the Polo Park Middle School National Junior Honor Society sponsored its third annual toy drive, where students in the school donated new toys that 10 members of the NJHS brought to Palms West Hospital on Dec. 18 to hand out to children.
Dressed as elves, the students handed out toys ranging from stuffed animals and dolls to remote control cars and super heroes action figures.
The gifts went to children of all ages, ranging from newborns and toddlers to elementary school age, even handing out some Target and iTunes gift cards to teens who were in the hospital.
Presents were given to children in the pediatric ward, the pediatric intensive care unit, the pediatric oncology unit and even in the emergency rooms.
While some of the students walked around handing out presents, others stayed in the children’s playroom, reading stories, playing games and coloring with the kids who came to the common room for some well-deserved fun.
“Bringing toys to those kids was such an amazing experience,” NJHS member LeAnn Haggerty explained. “Just getting to see their faces when we handed them a present are memories I will take with me forever. I’m proud just to have been part of something so worthwhile.”
NJHS was able to collect and donate well over 100 toys, enough to not only hand out to every child in the hospital, but there were also plenty left over for children brought to the hospital in the weeks following the NJHS visit.
The group also donated a number of board games, puzzles, play sets and videos that the hospital can keep in the playroom for all of the children to use.
“This is now the third year that we have sponsored the toy drive, and it never ceases to amaze me how much our students care about helping others, especially children,” NJHS co-sponsor Craig Kaliser said. “I think when our NJHS students see that they can bring smiles to the faces of kids who are sick and hurting, it reminds them of the impact they can have by simply remembering the old adage ‘it is better to give than to receive.’”
ABOVE: NJHS students deliver toys.