Children’s hospital ‘overwhelmed’ by community’s response to call for toys

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital is asking for toy donations as they see an uptick in hospitalizations. 

The hospital made the call to action on social media Thursday afternoon. They say the post quickly drew an overwhelming response with more than 3,500 shares. The hospital says they also received more than 100 phones calls from people looking to help and donate. 

“We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of the community in every way, shape and form,” said Tamara Potter with the Spectrum Health Foundation. 

The hospital is asking for markers, Lego sets and fidget spinners, among other toys. They say currently they’re caring for 200 kids with various conditions. Their hospital has 240 beds for children total.

“Our numbers have been really high at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. We are seeing more kids than imaginable and that’s one of the reasons we are going through much more than we expected,” said Potter.

Potter says the hospital typically accepts toy donations year round but this particular ask is due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic. To prevent the spread of germs and the number of surfaces that have to be routinely cleaned, kids are not sharing toys. 

“Every single toy is a single use toy. That child gets to go home with that toy and that means the busier we are, the more toys that we need,” said Potter. “The child life specialists kind of use these toys as distraction things. It’s like if we can take your mind off of what’s happening to you physically then we can try and make this the best patient experience that we can imagine.”

People who want to donate should call the Spectrum Health Foundation at 616.391.2000 to set up a drop off time. People can also purchase items from the hospital’s Amazon wish list which will ship directly to the hospital. Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital says they accept donations year round.

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