Generous donors from Jacksonville and far beyond came together this month to donate more than 4,600 new toys for patients at Wolfson Children’s Hospital, with an estimated total value of more than $48,000. The 8th Annual Christmas in July Toy and Donation Drive culminated with a final push this morning, where community members dropped off 2,598 toys outside Wolfson Children’s. Christmas in July also generated an additional $3,820 in monetary donations for Child Life team members to purchase developmentally appropriate toys for children of all ages. Giving continues on ChristmasJuly.com until July 31, and year-round on the Wolfson Children’s Hospital Amazon registry.
Santa Claus flew to Jacksonville from the North Pole to collect toy donations this morning with his old pal, Wolfie, the Wolfson Children’s mascot, by his side. After greeting people outside the hospital, Santa went room-to-room to deliver toys to patients inside. The rest of the toys and art supplies will be used throughout the year. Child Life specialists use play therapeutically to normalize the hospital experience and ease stress and anxiety that often come with a hospital stay.
Toys are also vital to cognitive development and rehabilitation.
Wolfson Children’s relies on donations to purchase toys for patients. While donations are plentiful during the holiday season, they dwindle during the summer months. The need, however, is constant year-round. In addition to the main event, Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville and Jacksonville-area Jersey Mike’s Subs locations collected toys all month long.
“Year after year, this community steps up to make sure our children have what they need,” said Michael D. Aubin, FACHE, president of Wolfson Children’s. “These are so much more than just toys. Our Child Life specialists need these toys to do their job, which is to put a smile on a child’s face during a difficult time. That is priceless. Thank you so much to everyone who donated.”
Pat Kirkland, CCLS, Family Support Services manager, said, “We are overwhelmed with the generosity of this community and want to thank each of you who chose to give. The impact this will have on the children we serve will be incredible. The toys will bring smiles and comfort to kids, ensure they continue to meet milestones and help their recovery. We would also like to thank Jersey Mike’s Subs for their continued support by collecting toys all month long.”
Jersey Mike’s is the presenting sponsor of Christmas in July, and presented a $45,472 check to the Wolfson Children’s Hospital Child Life Endowment. The Roosevelt Blvd. Jersey Mike’s location raised an additional $6,000 for Christmas in July.
To make a contribution to Wolfson Children’s Hospital throughout the year, please visit wolfsonchildrens.org/ways-to-give.