It may be the middle of summer, but Santa, reindeer, and candy canes were on full display at St. Joesph’s Children’s Hospital Friday.
The hospital is holding a donation drive to help provide funding and toys for kids in the hospital. It's accepting drop-off toy donations from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 3001 W Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Tampa, FL 33614.
From board games to princesses to action figures, so many toys were dropped off at St. Joseph's Children’s Hospital that Santa was even impressed.
“Any donation, any toys that are brought in, has such an effect on children,” said Santa.
St. Joseph's Children’s Hospital will use these toys to comfort more than 60,000 patients over the course of a year.
"It really melts away the stress, it gives them a moment where they aren’t thinking about where they are or why they are here, it provides them the opportunity to be a child again which is really important,” said Jimmy Baumgartner, Director of Operations.
Michelle and Kaila Bergmann couldn’t wait to unload their car; it wasn’t that long ago that Kaila found herself in a St. Joe’s hospital bed.
“It’s really important to give back when you’ve been in their shoes because it can really make them feel appreciated and loved,” said Bergmann.
For many of these kids, the toys they receive will be a lasting symbol of hope and happiness.
“We often see them, for those patients who come back to us, bring that toy to every admission and every visit,” said Kendal Francoletti, with the Child Life Center.
One of the larger donations came from the Jeep-themed social club known as the Seven Slot Sisterhood. They collected more than $5,000 in toys.
“We have done this every year, and we just love it to give back to the kids who are here that are sick that need a little cheering up this time of year. It’s amazing,” said Shelly Johnston.
Donations can also be made online by clicking here.
Donations made during Christmas in July make it possible to provide young patients with the special attention and added comfort that is just as important to their healing as the world-class medical care they receive at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital.