SPRINGDALE, Ark. — Lots of people are in the giving spirit and are donating to Arkansas Children’s Northwest’s Festival of Stars Toy Drive. They collected thousands of toys on Friday, Dec. 9 for kids of all ages.
The hope is these toys will bring smiles to the faces of children who are patients here at the hospital, especially during Christmas.
“One of the really cool things that we do is we host what's called the Snowflake Shop," said the volunteer engagement coordinator AnneDella Hines. "We bring in toys, we set up one of our rooms like really like the best toy store you've ever seen. And parents can just come in and get toys for their children. So they shop, but it's all free."
Hines said parents whose kids aren’t in the hospital during Christmas can also come to get gifts.
“We just really want to alleviate the burden of that holiday season and holiday shopping while they're going through something that is a little bit stressful. So we get all those toys, we wrap them, we put them in a big black trash bag so you can't see them. And they get to take those home,” she said.
Michelle Summers's son Theo was one of the kids who had to spend Christmas in a children’s hospital in California.
“It was really hard because it was a time that's supposed to be happy and joyful. And it was really sad because I mean, he almost died. And that was obviously really hard. But we're really grateful to the doctors and nurses that saved his life,” Summers said.
Summers says once Theo was feeling better, his face let up to receive gifts like the ones they are collecting for other children. That’s why it’s important for her family to help with the toy drive and encourage others to donate.
“Even if it's just a small little bit of joy and a time that's really dark and hard. I think that that can make a really big difference. Help give some hope in what can sometimes feel really like a hopeless situation,” she said.
If you weren’t able to make it to the toy drive, you can donate online or shop their Walmart and Amazon wish lists up until Christmas.
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