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Friday, Dec 14, 2018

Toy donations needed at Niswonger Children’s Hospital

This Christmas, Niswonger Children’s Hospital is giving everyone the chance to play Santa – and the effects will be felt throughout the year.

The children’s hospital is accepting toy donations to brighten the holiday for patients on Christmas, as well as to offer comfort and fun the rest of the year.

“No child – or family – wants to spend Christmas in the hospital, but sometimes, it’s unavoidable,” said Amanda Ward, child life manager of Niswonger Children’s Hospital. “Kids are so worried Santa won’t be able to find them, but thanks to toy donations from generous people throughout the region, we can make sure our patients wake up to presents and holiday joy.”

Niswonger Children’s Hospital has a long tradition of a Dec. 24 visit from Santa Claus, who reassures patients he knows where they are, and he won’t forget them this Christmas. While patients are tucked in their beds that night, Santa and team members leave donated toys outside each room. Or, the presents are given to parents in advance, so families can follow their own traditions on Christmas Day.

The children’s hospital averages nearly 75 young patients during the holidays. Often, parents are unable to provide gifts for their children, either because the hospital visit prevented them from shopping, or because medical bills make gifts unaffordable.  

“We do everything we can to make Christmas special for our families,” Ward said. “Our team members go above and beyond to create a festive atmosphere, but we rely on these donations to bring the magic of Santa to Niswonger Children’s Hospital. Everyone at our children’s hospital deeply appreciates the community members who embrace the holiday spirit and give toys for our patients – both at Christmas and for the rest of the year.”

In addition to Christmas gifts, toys are given to children receiving treatment or undergoing tests and procedures at Niswonger Children’s Hospital throughout the year. The toys can distract children from their fear and anxiety, turning a potentially scary hospital experience into a positive one.

A registry has been set up at Target, with Niswonger Children’s Hospital listed as the organization name, so donors can easily see the greatest needs. Due to infection control and patient safety measures, the children’s hospital can only accept new toys.
Some of the most-needed items on the wish list include:

  • Art supplies
  • Board games for teens
  • Card games
  • Character-themed toys
  • Figurines appropriate for preschool-aged children
  • Hot Wheels
  • iTunes gift cards
  • Legos
  • Sippy cups with plastic lids
  • Skinny markers and mandala books with colored pencils for teens

“Christmas is my favorite time of year at Niswonger Children’s Hospital, because we truly see the generosity and compassion of our community,” said Lisa Carter, chief executive officer at Niswonger Children’s Hospital and Ballad Health’s vice president of pediatric services. “Each toy donation has an immeasurable effect on a patient’s happiness, and every team member, parent and patient is immensely thankful for these gifts.”

To donate toys, please contact Ward at 423-431-6895. More information about Niswonger Children’s Hospital can be found at