Over the past couple of months, I’ve watched as several local friends have shared medical updates on Facebook. I’m old so it isn’t uncommon to hear about knee surgeries, back problems and insert-ailment-here. But these have stood out because too often they’ve been talking about their children and grandchildren. It’s heartbreaking to hear about the extended hospital stays for testing, surgeries or premature births. Locally, one thing has been consistent across all these updates – the service and staff at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital has been amazing. One friend commented that a highlight for her son was being able to watch the football game from the special suite on the top floor of the hospital. Having been in the stadium for the very first Hawkeye Wave, I know what a powerful visual it is. I can only imagine how amazing that was for her son to participate from his seat inside the hospital.
It’s been several years that we’ve been collecting toys and games from our various industry contacts in an effort to bring holiday joy to some of the kids and families at the children’s hospital in nearby Iowa City. What started as a small project has expanded to thousands of dollars in donations with more excitement and participation increasing each year!
This year was no different. We spent a few months working hard on holiday gift guides while simultaneously accumulating the items for our holiday delivery. Once again, we removed the seats from our van and filled it to the rim then enlisted the assistance of a friend with a large SUV to help us deliver the rest of the load.
Last year when we delivered so much, they told us that most of their donations come in around the holidays. I get it. We do the same thing. Maybe it’s because this time of the year is the easiest to encourage people to give. Perhaps it’s because end of year is when companies are looking at adjusting their inventory levels anyhow. Whatever the reason, we are blessed with the generosity of the brands we work with.
This year, they confided that the items we donate get them through to next year and that they’re very appreciative of that. We know there are a multitude of other worthy charities where we could gift these items and perhaps we may look at expanding our efforts in the future.
But for now, we will continue to try to make the days a little brighter for children and their families who are faced daily with medical concerns. We’re thrilled to know we’re making a difference and are delighted to hear that the hospital asked for our feedback in which items we think belong on their wish list. Taking a cue from our gift guides, we’ll be working with the staff to keep it updated with the latest toys and games. If you would like to join us from afar, I encourage you to check out the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital wish list on Amazon!
What charities do you think we should research for future philanthropic efforts?