GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Surely many little eyes were peering down from the windows of Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids as a procession of emergency vehicles paraded silently down Michigan Street Tuesday to bring gifts for the kids spending the holidays in the hospital.
The first responders’ assignment was delivering the joy of the holiday season in a language every child understands: toys. Lots and lots of toys.
“We’re so grateful for people who’ve been managing a lot on their own that they’d be willing to give,” said Kelly Dyer, president of the Spectrum Health and Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Foundations.
“Nothing beats watching a kid get a toy at Christmas. Obviously, due to all the restrictions now we understand we can’t have direct interaction with the patients. We just hope they get the joy from it because I can tell you all of the people here are having a blast being able to participate today,” said Grandville Police Department Chief Paul Anglim.
Police and first responders from 17 agencies took part in the procession, but it was the Grandville Police Department that wrote the grant to the “First Responders Children’s Foundation” to help make it happen.
“Everybody jumped in right away. A couple of the agencies that couldn’t be here today, everybody’s experiencing some staffing issues, but everybody was all in,” Anglim said.
Though COVID restrictions kept the first responders from seeing the delight on the faces of children who received the toys, the joy that comes from giving was on display outside the hospital. Not even a mask could cover that up.