ANN ARBOR – Although the coronavirus pandemic has changed holiday traditions worldwide this year, the annual “bedside toy store” at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital continued to lift spirits this holiday season.
The in-house “North Pole” provides families a chance to pick out free gifts for hospitalized children and visiting siblings from shelves stocked with toys.
This year, members of the Mott Child and Family Life Team played elves and went “shopping” for the perfect gifts patients. The presents were delivered in bags for families to store away for Christmas.
“We recognize that being at the hospital is a stressful and difficult time for families, especially during the holidays,” Child and Family Life Director Lindsay Heering said in a news release. “We hope to at least ease one stress by helping them take care of holiday shopping without leaving their child’s side.”
Heering said that the event is made possible by generous donations from the community each year.
The toy store started in 2012 after Michigan Medicine received an overwhelming amount of donations ahead of the holidays.
Before the pandemic, the holiday store is an event that lasts days and involves 20-30 volunteers who help wrap gifts and stock the shelves.