Banner Thunderbird and Hope Community collect toys for patients

By: 
DARRELL JACKSON, Glendale Star Staff Writer

Photos courtesy Banner Thunderbird

Above, a collection of the over 8,000 toys collected during the Banner Thunderbird and Hope Community Services.

Mayor Jerry Weiers plays Santa in presenting gifts to Jaelyn Pender at Banner Thunderbird Medical Center Dec. 7
 

Mrs.Claus greets Jackson Dahl and his mom and hands out candy canes at the toy drive.

Banner Thunderbird and Hope Community Services partnered to get thousands of toys donated from the community and staff that will give children patients and foster kids the chance to have a happy holiday.
“We partner with Hope Community Services (HCS), formerly known as West Valley Child Crisis Center, to do a community toy drive,” Banner Thunderbird Medical Center Chief Executive Officer Deb Krmpotic said. “They need toys and we need toys for our toy closets and we partner together on the toy drive each year.”
Banner Thunderbird Medical Center pediatric department uses a toy closet that contains hundreds of items given to children to ease their fears when facing medical procedures. The donations restock that closet and allows the hospital to ease children’s fears during any surgical procedure or extended stay in the hospital.
“(HCS) needs toys and we need toys, so we work together to get thousands of toys donated from the community,” Krmpotic said. “We use the toy closet to ease kid’s fears of being hospitalized and HCS uses toys for foster kids and we partner together on this event every year.”
Each year, Banner and Hope Community Services host a toy collection for the company to help refill the toy closet and for foster children’s services through Hope Community Services.
Donations for the toy closet have been ongoing since 2011 and the toys are given out at Banner Thunderbird to a child with the hope of making their stay a little more bearable by providing a creative outlet for them. Toys, crayons, coloring books and any items for children are donated and used to ease patients’ fears and reward them with a small item to make them feel safer.
“These toys go into our closets and while children have a procedure, they get to make a selection from the closet to help ease their fears,” Krmpotic said. “It always warms my heart to have that kind of tangible demonstration of generosity from our staff and the community.”
Banner and HCS partner together to get the donations for both the hospital and HCS to give foster children gifts during the holidays and HCS Chief Executive Officer Kary Goitia said it helps them immensely.
“It means that the community is stepping in to help service our kids and give them a happy holiday,” Goitia said. “We work all year long to make sure kids are getting services they need and are safe in their environment, but during the holidays we want to do something a little bit more special for those kids and the community always seems to step up to assist us.”
HCS, formerly West Valley Child Crisis Center, works to create lasting solutions for children and families by providing innovative programs to foster safe and healthy communities within Arizona.
Its goal is to provide a safe and healthy environment where they can thrive and they provide safe placement services, parent education and training and behavioral health services for children who have experienced trauma, such as abuse, neglect, or abandonment.
Goitia said every year Hope works with Banner to get the assistance and, every year, their numbers get larger.
“Banner has been an amazing partner and whenever we work together, we have a great partnership,’ Goitia said. “We work together to service kids in the West Valley and by joining forces with Banner, we always get more and more donations together.”
Banner and HCS, along with the Glendale Chamber of Commerce, provided cookies and snacks while Mayor Jerry Weiers played Santa and the crowd of more than 50 listened to Christmas songs while celebrating the accomplishment.
“Personally, I always tear up when we hand out these toys to kids because I have children of my own and I cannot imagine them not having a Christmas,” Goitia said. “So to be able to make them smile for a moment and to see the enjoyment on their faces makes all the work we do worth it.”
Krmpotic said the Banner employees and community have always stepped up to donate when they hold these events.
“It speaks to everyone in the community and our staff the generosity and spirit of giving and it warms my heart to have that kind of tangible demonstration of generosity,” Krmpotic said.
As they collected the toys, Krmpotic said the city and community continue to surprise her with their giving.
“We are the largest employer in Glendale, and we may have a little clout there, but at the same time, when it comes from the heart and they know it is important, the community always seems to come through,” Krmpotic said. “They all seem to know this is important and the community and our employees always seem to come through to help serve them well.”

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