Jacksonville community donates nearly $14,000 and 1,000 toys for Christmas in July

Annual toy and donation drive ensures Wolfson Children’s Hospital patients feel at ease during hospital visits.

Jacksonville, FL -

Holiday cheer spread through the halls of Wolfson Children’s Hospital this month when Santa Claus flew in on his sleigh to distribute toys donated by generous community members for Christmas in July. The 12th annual toy and donation drive, presented by Subaru of Jacksonville, lasted the entire month of July, with Santa making his special visit on July 25, 2023.

During this year’s Christmas in July, Jacksonville community members donated nearly 1,000 toys. Additionally, throughout July generous donors gave $13,960 in financial gifts online. The funds will be used to purchase toys for Wolfson Children’s patients.

Subaru of Jacksonville collected toys at their showroom on Atlantic Boulevard throughout the month and delivered those with Santa on July 25. In addition to thousands of dollars worth of toys from the community, staff and ownership, the dealership contributed $25,000 to support the Child Life department.

Phil Porter, Jr., executive management with Subaru of Jacksonville said, “We look forward to Christmas in July every year. The dealership, our team members, customers, and even vendors all make it a goal to fill every bin we have to the top. We are grateful to have a small part in bringing a smile to children’s faces that are at Wolfson Children’s Hospital.

At Wolfson Children’s, certified Child Life specialists and master’s-prepared music therapists use toys and instruments as tools to help children understand their conditions and prepare for medical procedures such as blood draws and MRIs. By easing stress and anxiety, they help kids gain a sense of control in the hospital and Emergency Department environments. Christmas in July allows Child Life specialists and music therapists to restock their toy shelves and identify their most needed items to continue their mission of making a patient’s experience more pleasant.

“Being in the hospital can be frightening for children, but these donations allow us to soothe and entertain patients while positively contributing to their recovery and healing process,” said Susan Kinnebrew, MHA, CCLS, director of Family Support Services at Wolfson Children’s. “Our talented team members use these toys to help children develop cognitively and physically during their hospital stay and to understand what is happening to and around them in an unfamiliar environment. Our whole team is incredibly grateful to the community for continuing to support our patients and our caregiving efforts.”

Allegra C. Jaros, MBA, president of Wolfson Children’s Hospital said, “The Northeast Florida community continues to amaze me with their generosity and spirit, from individuals who donated online or dropped off toys, to organizations and businesses like Subaru of Jacksonville that sponsored the drive. The toy and monetary donations from Christmas in July will be immediately put to use by our Family Support Services team and will truly make a difference with our patients.”

Those who wish to donate toys year-round can do so by visiting the Wolfson Children’s Hospital Amazon wish list. To make a financial contribution to Wolfson Children’s Hospital throughout the year, which allows our Child Life and Music Therapy team to purchase the toys and musical instruments that are needed most, please visit wolfsonchildrens.com/give.