Thank you to those of you that joined us for our Little Tomato Seed Co. fingerprint ornament fundraiser! Together, we raised $600 that we were able to spend on toys, games and books for the Long Beach Miller Children's Hospital.
I took Mikey, Ashlyn, Zoya, and Payton shopping last Saturday. We started at Kohl's and finished our shopping at Target in Seal Beach. Each of the kids got to pick out toys that they thought the patients would enjoy, and Payton was especially excited about picking out a Barbie for a special little girl. We stocked up on Play-Doh, light-up musical toys, card games, walkie-talkies, microphones, craft sets, bubbles, paper, crayons, and Hot Wheels.
They had so much fun picking out toys! We spent a lot of time talking about the needs of the patients, determining what would be easy to clean, comparing the different features of the toys, and calculating discounted prices. Most of the toys that we bought at Kohl's were on sale, and we had an additional 20% off coupon. Mikey kept track of our running total so that we didn't overspend.
Payton and I did a quick Facebook LIVE video revealing all of the toys and games we bought. She also talks a little bit about her favorite toy that she picked out, as well as who these toys are all for. You can check it out HERE.
My dad escorted me and my two kids to the Hospital this morning to help facilitate the drop-off. Payton and I took in the first load of toys, and my dad and Payton took in the second load. There were a few other families dropping off bags of toys, and we all loaded our donations onto carts.
I had a chance to meet with two of the women that work in the Child Life Department that facilitates family care at the hospital. We talked at length about the patients, my experience with the NICU, what kind of donations they are most in need of, and ways that we can help contribute to hospital all year round. I can't begin to tell you how appreciative they were. We talked about some of the ways that the donations are used, and they were full of stories about how much the toys cheer up the children. On Christmas Eve, Santa brings a small bag of toys for each child to keep. The toys are also used as birthday gifts.
Each of them also asked about Grant, the little tomato, and asked about how he was doing now. We were only in the NICU for 24 hours, and I didn't meet either one of these ladies while we were there, but the culture in that hospital (from what I experienced) is one that is always concerned for the well-being of the patients and their families. Every child that received medical treatment there immediately becomes part of their medical family, and they love hearing updates on their patients. They treat children that are dehydrated from the flu, children that have broken bones from bike accidents, children dying from aggressive cancer, and children with conditions everywhere in between. Some patients are in the hospital for a few days, and others are in there for months. Many of the patients have siblings that come to visit, and all of the patients have families that are fighting alongside them.
We are already working hard on planning our next fundraising event, so stay tuned for more details after the first of the year.
Happy Holidays and Happy New Year from all of us at Kids Under Construction and the Little Tomato Seed Co.!