When I walk into my office in the morning during December, it’s usually glowing from a lone red light. It isn’t Rudolph but rather my voicemail-indicator light. Today – four new messages: the parent of a 5-year-old boy who wants to donate his allowance, a 10-year-old girl who wants to share gifts from her birthday party, students ready to donate money from a school penny war and a local company who has a stack of gift cards to drop off from their holiday donation drive. I move on to my email and find more messages of generous supporters eager to give to Cincinnati Children’s.
My job here at Cincinnati Children’s is to work with families and groups who want to donate non-cash gifts like toys, crafts, gift cards, books, games and money raised by family or organization fundraisers. It can get pretty busy during November and December, but I’m not complaining!
The generosity of our community during the holiday season is incredible, making visits to the hospital a lot more comfortable for our patients. My favorite type of donations to receive are gift cards – they are the easiest to store and they allow our Child Life team the flexibility of buying the toys or items that best fit the patients that are in the hospital at that time. This year, donors can also buy gift cards at our Burnet Campus Gift Shop for patients. Buying Gift Shop gift cards doubles the impact – donors can support the medical center through their gift shop purchase and through their gift card donation. If gift cards aren’t an option, I encourage donors to look at our wish list.
Twins, Casey and Brady, 8, (l-r) had a birthday party and collected gifts for Cincinnati Children’s. The boys were excited to bring their gifts, donated by family and friends, to the hospital.
Cameron, Max, Tate and Carson (l-r) ran a juice stand to benefit Cincinnati Children’s. They sold juice to lots of thirsty customers and raised more than $60 to donate to the medical center.
Don and Marilyn (l-r), employees of TRANE/Ingersoll Rand, organized a toy drive at their company and donated these games, toys and gift cards.
Photo at top of post: Ashley (r) asked her principal if her school could help her raise money for diabetes research. With the principal’s help, Ashley held a jeans day at school and raised $370 for diabetes research at Cincinnati Children’s. Ashley and her brother Austin hold up the donation check.
I have the privilege of meeting many of our donors, like the folks pictured above, when they deliver their gifts to the medical center. I love talking to them about what inspired them to give to Cincinnati Children’s. Before they leave, I take their picture for our Facebook album, Our Caring Community, and I make sure the gifts find their way to Child Life or the intended department. After the paperwork is processed, I follow up with a thank you note that includes necessary tax information.
As you’re doing your holiday shopping this year, I encourage you to remember our patients and consider making an in-kind contribution. Your gift could be just what they need to make their holiday a little brighter.
If you’re interested in donating gift cards or toys for our patients, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 513-636-1084 and please consider the following guidelines as you shop:
• All donations must be new and in original packaging.
• Donated gifts should not be wrapped. We do, however, accept gifts of wrapping paper and ribbon.
• Items should be age-appropriate. We provide gifts for infants to 18-year-olds.
• Toys that break easily, have sharp edges or have many small parts that can be removed, swallowed or inhaled cannot be accepted.
• All items must be non-toxic.
• No latex balloons, balloon animals or other latex toys are permitted in the medical center.
• Sports/trading cards are only accepted if unopened and in the original packaging.
• Stuffed toys/items, including Beanie Babies, cannot be accepted.
• Most handmade items, including greeting cards and fleece-tie blankets, cannot be accepted.
• Due to varying dietary restrictions, food and candy cannot be given to patients.
• Toys with violent themes cannot be accepted.