Nothing makes us happier than putting a smile on a child’s face. This holiday season, we’re so excited to donate gifts to the Mission Children’s Hospital’s third annual “Winter Wonderland Shop.”
The Winter Wonderland Shop Program accepts donations of new, unwrapped toys and gifts, and displays the items so that parents/families of children currently in the hospital have the opportunity to pick out Christmas gifts for their children (sick and well) without leaving the hospital.
Kim Giacobbe, Office Coordinator at Sanesco, helped facilitate the company-wide toy drive, stating “We are called as human beings to be charitable and take care of one another—fulfilling that calling in itself is a rewarding experience, but the joy that you get inside by helping someone in need is the most precious gift you can receive.”
The Wonderland Shop is open to parents and families daily for two weeks up until Christmas Day. After parents select the gifts for their children, a team of volunteers at Mission helps to wrap the presents and provide a one-stop-shop for parents to complete their holiday shopping.
The hospital expects about 30 families to select gifts from the Winter Wonderland Shop this year.
“In the past, we’ve done it other ways, such as providing the children with Christmas stockings stuffed with gifts or providing families with pre-selected gifts,” said Julian Cate, a Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS) at Mission Children’s Hospital.
“It’s been wonderful,” added Cate. “We all agreed that this is the best way to give back and it’s a way for the families to have ownership over choosing their own gifts for their children.”
At Sanesco, we collected gifts for several weeks and then presented them on behalf of the company on December 18th—the first day that the Winter Wonderland Shop was officially open for families to begin selecting presents.
Giacobbe mentioned she felt fortunate to have delivered the gifts on behalf of Sanesco and to have had the opportunity to see the Winter Wonderland program in full operation.
“I was able to see a mother shopping for her child and then watch as the gifts she had chosen were being wrapped and readied to be given on Christmas Day,” she continued. “I know that this family member must have been under a huge amount of stress with the worry of having a sick child. I can only imagine what she must have been going through, and I know that in a small way, our gifts took a portion of that stress away. It was such a great experience to see a project unfold from start to finish. Hopefully, the pictures that were taken will give everyone a sense of how important our contribution was and prepare our hearts to give even more next year.”
Sanesco has a long-standing commitment to giving back to the community and we hope to add this program as an annual activity for many years to come. Next year, we plan to have Sanesco employees volunteer to wrap gifts.
Mission Children’s Hospital accepts gift donations from individuals, local organizations and businesses all year-round. Typically, the greatest amount of gift donations comes in during the holidays. In recent years, Mission has received enough gifts during the holiday season to have a supply of leftover toys for children and their families for other occasions, such as birthdays. Also, any additional toys not selected by families during the Winter Wonderland are used by the hospital to supply the oncology and general playrooms, and for kids in the emergency department and outpatient specialty clinics.
The items they currently have a need for include: art supplies, play dough, infant toys, light-up toys, trucks, dolls (with removable clothing so they may be washed), DVDs (rated G/PG/PG13), self-care items and even gift cards, wrapping paper and gift bags. Due to the variety of ages from toddlers to teens, they’ve stated any item is appreciated with the exception of stuffed animals.
If you are interested, we highly encourage you to give back to the community by donating to the Mission Children’s Hospital.