Delivering More Than $15k Worth of Future Smiles

Delivering More Than $15k Worth of Future Smiles

Last year at this time, we headed to the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital with a van full of goodies. Through the year, we had been collecting and setting aside SWAG and other items that our kids were too old for or that perhaps we already owned. When it came time to prepare our holiday content calendars, we reached out to our myriad of clients and asked if they would be willing to support our charity drive. They did and the result filled the van plus allowed us to deliver to some local charities. The hospital was incredibly excited for the large donation and the variety we offered and we drove away feeling like we had done something to put a little spark of happiness in several young lives.

This year, we once again decided to set aside toys that made their way to us. Sometimes we would receive a package as a prize or for participating in a Twitter party. Some items I received as gifts for attending a media event. There were a couple projects that involved unboxing and mentioning toys cobranded for a movie on our social channels. What we didn’t need to open or use, we decided to once again earmark for the our holiday charity drive. But we did something a little different when it came time to prepare for our holiday content. As with last year, we reached out to our clients for their support, but included more details on our primary charity: the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital.

You may recall us sharing about the Hawkeye Wave (AKA the Kinnick Wave), a new tradition at University of Iowa home football games that was so awesome it went viral. Our outreach requests hit home with many people who had watched or read about this amazing tradition. Actually, just last night during the College Football Awards on ESPN, University of Iowa was awarded the 2017 Disney Sports Spirit Award which is presented to the sport’s most inspirational figure. During our trip to the hospital this year, we had a chance to stand in the Press Box, the room where the children are able to watch the game and discovered what an amazing view it is. They can literally see the faces of the people waving back at them… it’s THAT close. I can only imagine how many smiles it generates on both sides of the glass.

As part of our holiday charity drive, we were able to deliver more than $15,000 worth of Christmas donations to the University of Iowa Children's Hospital. - SahmReviews.com

I was amazed by the generosity with companies sending us cases of products to deliver to the children’s hospital. We set aside some items for the local churches including items such as riding toys the hospital didn’t allow. But everything else we carefully packed into boxes and realized that one van wasn’t going to do it. We debated renting a moving van but my folks said they would help with the delivery. We had to play a serious game of Jenga to get everything into both vehicles but we did it!

As part of our holiday charity drive, we were able to deliver more than $15,000 worth of Christmas donations to the University of Iowa Children's Hospital. - SahmReviews.com

We arrived in Iowa City and were greeted by Dan Mears, Concierge at Stead Family Children’s Hospital. Two large carts and one small cart later and we had it all unloaded and ready for their new home. These donations will be earmarked for many different departments. Some will be cataloged and delivered to public areas to be used for checkout or game nights. Others will be shared with various departments such as intake and radiology. Some will be given to patients. All will make people happy.

Dan took us on a tour of the hospital and I was amazed as he shared all the details. It’s designed using concepts like at a Disney theme park with a backstage and a main stage. Every patient room is on the outside of the building and all the offices, labs and everything are in the center.

As part of our holiday charity drive, we were able to deliver more than $15,000 worth of Christmas donations to the University of Iowa Children's Hospital. - SahmReviews.com

There are subtle nuances around the building such as the changes in wall color, interactive art displays and elevator lights that change color based on what floor you are on. The walls in the center of the building represent the seasons, starting bright, fading before turning bright again. The colors get lighter as you move away from the elevators. So even though family members are given floor plan and facility details when they arrive, they are often so overwhelmed they don’t remember. A trip to the cafeteria or somewhere might leave them disoriented and unsure how to get back. A simple look at the wall will remind them what direction to walk to locate the elevators. The building includes a cafeteria as well as a coffee shop, a movie “theater” with interactive capabilities along with a library where they do reading hour, crafts and other activities. The patient rooms are equipped with interactive monitors that display employee credentials on the screen when someone walks in the patient’s room. These temporary homes also include a separate space for the parents to sleep, a refrigerator, a customizable menu and many more features.

As part of our holiday charity drive, we were able to deliver more than $15,000 worth of Christmas donations to the University of Iowa Children's Hospital. - SahmReviews.com

The top floor, open to the public except on game days includes an outdoor healing garden, conference rooms, and a meditation room among other features. I inquired as to whether there was a chapel on site and Dan said the meditation room was designed to be multi-denominational. Services are held regularly and is accommodating to all. As an example, there is a sign with the direction toward Mecca, shoe cubicles under benches and mats for use during prayer.

As part of our holiday charity drive, we were able to deliver more than $15,000 worth of Christmas donations to the University of Iowa Children's Hospital. - SahmReviews.com

But the showcase is the Press Box where the kids get to participate in that incredible new tradition. The layout included all kinds of windows and a giant screen that aired events, including away games. This room offers a beautiful view but is restricted to events, gatherings, birthday parties, etc. for people associated with pediatrics.

As part of our holiday charity drive, we were able to deliver more than $15,000 worth of Christmas donations to the University of Iowa Children's Hospital. - SahmReviews.com

We were there for the inaugural wave and it felt like the kids were so far away. However, they aren’t. As we stood in the Press Box and looked down, the view was amazing and those kids could certainly see the faces of the people waving.

All this was for kids and their families who have to temporarily call the hospital their home. What it made me realize is that the work we did to coordinate this charity drive was well worth it and chances are… we will be doing it again next year.

Because you can’t buy the kind of joy that you receive from delivering a five figure donation of future smiles.

Have you ever visited a children’s hospital before?

Nicole

About Nicole

Founder and owner of SAHMReviews.com, Nicole has been involved in social media marketing since 2007. She has worked with a number of major corporations who utilized her skills to improve their social media outreach and online presence. Nicole works as an ambassador for brands such as Netflix, U.S. Cellular and K'NEX, has been featured in McDonald's videos as well as Maria Bailey's book "Power Moms". Always a SAHM (stay-at-home-mom) and mother of two beautiful teen daughters, if you can't find Nicole, she is probably somewhere playing board games.

18 comments on «Delivering More Than $15k Worth of Future Smiles»

  1. Donna says:

    How wonderful that all these companies donated and helped you guys give so many smiles to children for the holidays! I’m sure that the children’s hospital and your local churches appreciated it. This whole story has warmed my heart! Kudos to you and all who donated!

  2. Neely Moldovan says:

    I volunteered at a childrens hospital for a while in college. It was really eye opening and made me appreciate things so much more!

  3. Joline says:

    This is so awesome. What a big difference it would make to the kids who can’t spend Christmas at home!

  4. Nichole says:

    WOW – that is so awesome! What a wonderful accomplishment to bring so much joy to the kids. Great job!

  5. Heather says:

    I love this so much I can’t stand it! It’s such a wonderful time of year to give back.

  6. Alicia says:

    I love this so much. It is great to see how people give back, especially to those who can use it the most. I’m sure everyone was very appreciative. How awesome.

  7. This is so awesome! A car full loaded with gift for children are just amazing. So happy that you’re doing this every year for a great cause. Keep up with the good work!

  8. Jacqui Odell says:

    This is awesome. It’s great they are helping people that need it.

  9. Gladys parker says:

    What a kind thing for your family to do. We send boxes of items to children in needed countries. It is touching to see people give to those less fortunate. The Iowa State Children’s Hospital sounds amazing. When I was a child I had to go to a children’s hospital out of town. Granted this was many decades ago, but it definitely was nothing like ISCH.

  10. Liz Mays says:

    Those donations are going to make such a big difference. I love that view of the field from the hospital!

  11. Jamie says:

    It’s always such a blessing to give back. Great to know that so many companies are doing it, too!

  12. Michele says:

    What an awesome thing to do –especially for children in a hospital at this time of year. I am sure you brought a lot of smiles to many faces!! I am also very happy to hear that the companies you work with donated so you could give even more!!

  13. LadyInRead says:

    this is so totally awesome, kudos to all of you and to the companies that donated as well for doing something so wonderful and bringing smiles to so many faces…

  14. This is just a great initiative. I love children and I always want to help them.

  15. LavandaMichelle says:

    I have volunteered at a childrens hospitals in town I lived for year and I enjoy it so much. It A great experience and make me appreciate life so much more!

  16. CourtneyLynne says:

    Omg how awesome of these companies to help contribute! I have never been to a children’s hospital besides to see a specialist. Such a kind thing y’all did 🙂

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