SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Bryce was surprised Monday when he saw a table of toys stretched across the room with Christmas trees at either side at HSHS St. John’s Children’s Hospital.
He even picked out a gift: a pack of pokemon cards.
“I’m feeling happy,” Bryce, who is eight years old, said.
The toy was part of the hospital’s sneak peek of its “Santa’s Workshop,” a gift store for patients who will be spending Christmas in the hospital. Parents can get a gift to give to their child from the workshop for free.
“After they shop, we will have a wrapping station set up, they can wrap the toys for their kiddo, they can have hot cocoa and cookies, and just get in the Christmas spirit during what is a very difficult time for them here at the hospital,” Hannah Hahn, the annual gift officer for HSHS St. John’s Foundation, said.
The McGraw family donated money to get the shop up and running.
“As a family, we love to be able to be in a position to give back to the community,” Jenna Beyers, the owner of hotel ventures management, said.
During Christmas, Hahn said the hospital usually has around 30 pediatric patients and every one of them will have a gift to unwrap.
“If they weren’t at the Christmas store or weren’t in-patient during that time, say they come in on Christmas morning, we will still have toys ready and wrapped for them,” Hahn said.
Right now, the hospital is looking for more donations for the shop. There are a couple of options to donate including dropping toys off in the hospital’s lobby and shopping on the hospital’s Amazon wish list.
People can also send money to the hospital’s Venmo account, a money transfer app, @SJFoundation, which will go towards purchasing gifts for the workshop.
“It’s got to be tough being in the hospital, but I’m sure to have somewhere to go and be able to get a wrapped present and it’s got to just bring so much joy to them,” Mike McGraw, the owner, operator and franchisee of the McGraw family’s McDonalds, said.