By Lily Belcher
Last year, Stowers Elementary School in Lithia collected toys for Brandon Regional Hospital’s Toy Closet during the holidays. Brandon Regional’s Toy Closet gives pediatric patients their own pillowcases and toys for their hospital rooms. Stowers Elementary started its own collection for the closet to replenish the toy supply.
“Stowers Elementary was looking for a way to give back to the community. After learning about different needs, we decided to have a donation drive for the pediatric unit of Brandon Regional Hospital,” explained PTA Service Project Liaison Rachel Sahoo. “They have a closet with activities, but the closet is very low on supplies. We also learned that every pediatric patient gets their own pillowcase that they get to take home with them after.”
Due to the coronavirus, all patients now need their own, new toys. Sahoo explained that allowing them to pick out their own pillowcases makes the patients feel more secure and comfortable in the hospital environment.
Stowers Elementary planned to fill stockings for 90 kids and wrap around 20 items for each age group. The toys and activities are distractions for nervous patients and gives them a way to redirect their energy before a test or procedure.
Stowers Elementary students were asked to bring in donations and make cards for their peers who are in the hospital. The arts and crafts, including handmade get-well cards, were brought to the hospital with the toys to replenish the Toy Closet.
“We never imagined that in these crazy times that this would have been such a success, but we are so proud that our students helped other local kids,” said Sahoo.
After seeing the success of last year’s toy drive, Stowers Elementary decided to help replenish the Brandon Regional Hospital Toy Closet again. The toy drive ran from December 6 through December 17. Students and families were asked to bring toys for patients under 18 years old and pillowcases to brighten up their hospital beds. Over 1,000 new crafts, games, small toys and pillowcases were brought to the Toy Closet the week before Christmas.
“It’s another successful year with a filled collection bin every day,” said Sahoo.
To donate new games, toys or pillowcases, contact Sahoo at email@example.com.