Toy drive brings cheer to sick children

Students at Montessori by the Sea and Impact 345 members with donated presents to give to sick children at Health City Cayman Islands. : Photo: Jewel Levy

Students at Montessori by the Sea are spreading Christmas joy by donating toys to sick children at Health City Cayman Islands.

The toys are going to help children in the hospital that are getting heart surgery.

“You guys are going to help them fix their hearts,” said Holly Thompson, founder and leader of the Impact 345 community service group, upon receiving the toys from the children at the school on Wednesday.

“This is something that we do to aid the process and help them feel like they are having a better Christmas,” Ms. Thompson told the children. She said Montessori by the Sea has helped them in the past. “They are awesome, they always consider us a great place to donate and we are really grateful for everything they have done,” Ms. Thompson told the kids.

“I like that the children are going to be happy on Christmas morning and they are not going to be bored waiting for toys,” said Henry Craig Conner, a student.

Classmate Matteo Lawson said, “Why we are giving the gifts to them is because some children in the hospital don’t have presents, and some moms and dads cannot afford gifts, so we are getting all the gifts to give them.”

Ms. Thompson said the main purpose of the 345 service group is to provide backpacks for the “Have a Heart” children at Health City that are receiving critical care. Every Christmas, the group tries to collect new toys to wrap for the children that are there over Christmas, because it’s difficult for them and some of them do not speak English and are from foreign countries, Ms. Thompson noted.

“We wanted the kids to collect as many toys as they could to give to all the families that don’t have everything they have,” said Montessori teacher Krista Loden. “We opened the toy drive a week ago and since that time we collected triple the number of toys we were hoping to collect.”

Ms. Loden arranged the toy drive along with teacher Nicky Hull.

“Every year when we do the children’s Christmas party for kids involved in Have a Heart, not only do we collect toys for the sick children but we also collect many toys for children around the island who similarly won’t have much else for Christmas, to add as much Christmas cheer as possible,” Ms. Thompson said.

Impact 345 started three years ago when Ms. Thompson met a patient with a young child at the hospital, who said the ordeal was the scariest thing she had ever done because she had to leave her baby behind.

She said it made her realize how scary that must be, so she started inviting people to come with her to visit the hospital every time new patients arrived, and before she knew it, the effort evolved into Impact 345.

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