By Annie Oeth
Santa’s helpers around the state can deliver items to Mississippi’s only children’s hospital at the Kathy and Joe Sanderson Tower at Children’s of Mississippi Dec. 12-16.
“This will be the first time that Holiday Giving Week is held at the Sanderson Tower,” said Jen Hospodor, director of community development, annual giving and alumni engagement. “Donors can drive by the children’s hospital’s holiday decorations and drop off items without leaving their cars, making holiday giving easy and convenient.”
Links to the wish lists can be found at umc.edu/inkinddonations.
Toys are needed all year at Children’s of Mississippi. Each child hospitalized at Christmas will receive gifts geared toward their ages and interests. During the rest of the year, toys brighten birthdays for hospitalized children, promote positive coping through play, and serve as incentives to engage children in their medical care.
“Toys, games and activities help make the hospital setting more welcoming and less stressful for kids and teens. We use donated toys as birthday gifts, distraction tools during procedures or incentives to help encourage and motivate patients to reach treatment goals,” said child life specialist Tiffany Key.
The curated online lists, developed with patients’ needs in mind, include coloring books, markers, crayons, toys for babies and toddlers, dolls, card games, personal care items, toys for elementary-age children, items for teens, and more.
There are also items Children’s of Mississippi cannot accept. These include:
- Wrapped donations or goodie bags. Donations must be unwrapped to determine contents and whether they are right for a certain patient.
- Gift cards
- Used items, including those that are gently used, due to infection control policies.
- Religious items
- Toy weapons or violent video games and movies
- Riding toys such as bikes, scooters and pogo sticks that may not be appropriate for sick and injured children
- Toy kitchen sets and larger toys that may not fit in a hospital room
Holiday giving doesn’t have to be in person, Hospodor said.
“The easiest way to support Children’s of Mississippi patients and their families this holiday season is to shop online from our wish lists and have gifts shipped to the children’s hospital on the University of Mississippi Medical Center campus. Online shopping from Children’s of Mississippi’s lists can be done from your phone any time of year.”
Every year, Children’s of Mississippi supporters provide gifts that brighten the holidays and the rest of the year for patients, Hospodor said.
“The generosity of Mississippians is incredible,” she said. “Donors of all ages, from children to grandparents, share the joy of the season with our patients and families. It is truly heartwarming to witness.”
Key said the toys, games and other items given are appreciated by patients and their families as well as by the Children’s of Mississippi care team.
“The gifts from Holiday Giving Week are essential to the healing process and bring happiness to children as they heal.”
For questions about in-kind giving, call (601) 213-8054 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.