There is no doubt, walking into a hospital can be a little overwhelming. Just the sheer size of these buildings is one thing, but there are a lot of people coming and going, too. Now think what that experience can be like if you are a child.
Every year children come to OhioHealth Grady Memorial Hospital for a variety of things. Sometimes it can be an illness or injury, other times it’s to be with mom and dad to welcome a new baby to the family.
It has long been a tradition at Grady, 11 years to be exact, to try and have something special for these children as they spend time in the hospital. And what better way to brighten a child’s day than with a special toy.
But these toys don’t come from the staff at Grady, or the OhioHealth Foundation. Instead, one of the best holiday traditions has been the delivery of toys to Grady by local Boy Scout troops.
“The Boy Scouts are always so generous in remembering the kiddos here at OhioHealth Grady Memorial,” said Carrie Ison RN, CNM Grady Emergency Department. “We as a staff are so very thankful for all that they do.”
During the holiday season, the scouts spend time raising money, and taking toy donations. They then gather all of those toys, and deliver them to the staff at Grady. Each present is placed under the tree, then stored throughout the year, and distributed to families during visits to the hospital.
“Having a nice toy to eases the comfort for children who have to be in the hospital,” said Heidi Peterson RN, Administrative Nurse Manager, OhioHealth Grady Family Birthplace. “Our staff loves to watch the faces of the kids when we are able to give them a toy donated by the local Cub Scout Pack 488/489.”
The scouts say this is one of their favorite times of the year, and they know just what these toys will mean to those children from their own community.
“Grady helps people in our community, so it’s good that we can help. It makes me happy that these toys might help kids feel less scared, and happier,” Luke Kinder, Arrow of Light Scout, Pack 488/489 said.
For scout Matt Barker, this hospital and this annual event has special meaning for many reasons.
“I was born there,” Barker said. “And since Grady is so close, it’s nice to feel like we are helping our community.”
With this being year 11 of this annual event, many scouts and families have had a chance to participate.
For the Barkers, it is now a family affair.
“It’s nice to remember others during the holiday season, and watch the scouts experience the joy of giving,” Kristen Barker said.
“Hopefully the toys can entertain kids to help keep their minds off of injuries or surgeries,” Matt Barker said. “And, older siblings can sometimes feel jealous or alone when a new baby is born. So, getting a toy can help them feel special too.”
“Gifts For Grady” is a service project for the Boy Scouts Pack 488/489. That group consists of about 45 scouts from kindergarten through fifth grade.