By Tyler O’Neill
After several weeks of fundraising and accepting donations, the Peer Leaders and their GS 101 classes were ready to create care packages for children at the new John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital. On November 13 and 14, more than 125 students attended a presentation about the importance of service, what it means to a Franciscan College, and why we decided to work with the new children’s hospital this year.
With all of the donations and the money we raised from fundraising, we were able to make enough care packages for each child at the hospital and still have items left over to donate! The students were paired up and given a bag with a list to allow them to make packages for 5 different age groups. They were: infant, toddler, pre-school, school age, and teen bags. In total, we made 22 infant bags, 18 teen bags, 15 toddler bags, 15 pre-school bags, and 15 school-age bags for a total of 85 bags.
The infant bags included rattles and teethers, while the toddler bags and pre-school bags had crayons, coloring books, stickers, and construction paper. School-age bags consisted of crayons, a coloring book, as well as a card game. Lastly, teen bags had a Tim Hortons gift card, earbuds, deck of cards, and a fidget spinner. Each bag also included a positive note created by one of the GS 101 students.
In total, we raised over $1,000, not including monetary donations, and received over 150 donations through some of the GS 101 classes and public donations. With all the donations and fundraising, we were able to provide over 500 items total to 85 children. With our extra items that were not used in the care packages, we donated them to the hospital staff to allow them to use the items at their discretion.
On December 1, eight Peer Leaders, including myself, arrived at the new children’s hospital and were able to hand out all of the care packages our students made. We worked with nurses on three different floors to deliver the care packages. It was an extremely rewarding experience to see the joy and excitement on the children’s faces and know that a simple act like this can really brighten their day. The Peer Leaders also received a tour of the new hospital and all of the state-of-the-art technology not only for the nurses and doctors but for the patients as well.
Overall, the John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital is a much-needed improvement and will serve its patients and the Buffalo community for years to come. I would like to thank all those who were involved in this project, from the fundraising to anyone who donated and the students who put this together. Without everyone’s help this would not be possible. I’m ecstatic to be able to write about how well it went.