Every year Tampa Bay rallies around our local hospitals to provide Christmas for kids.
This year, everything is a little bit different due to COVID-19.
St. Joseph's Children's Hospital hasn't been able to accept in-person donations since March.
That means their toy closet is starting to run low and Christmas is right around the corner.
"It's all these things that they miss out on and being able to provide that fun, normalcy and excitement and just bring that joy into the hospital. It just really helps elevate their spirits and mindset," says Erin Lewellin, Certified Child Life Specialist at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital.
The hospital posted a plea to the community for help around Black Friday and the community is really coming together to help provide Christmas for kids.
"We've just really seen the community rally together and the donations have really been coming in," says Lewellin.
The team was even able to arrange Santa on Facetime to meet with the kids this year!
The Hospital created an Amazon Wish List to make it easy and safe for everyone.
They have a wide variety of toys for kids of all ages, including gift cards for the older kids.
We rely on our donations because we're a non-profit hospital. We think of the kids who are inpatient but we also have our patient and fusion clinics for children, oncology patients, same-day surgery patients so it's not just the kids who are here. It's also the kids who are coming and going as well ," explains Lewellin.