Annual Toy Drive
By Morris Seecharan
Being in the hospital, patient or not, is always stressful, even more so during the holidays for kids and their families.  During the time of hospitalization any positive reinforcements toward these kids helps shapes their minds to cope with the stress, and that moment with a toy and words of support and encouragement let them forget their sorrows.

Sunrise Cricket Club during their toy drive at Flushing and Elmhurst Hospitals.

The Sunrise Softball cricket club, sponsored by Kaieteur Liberty Restaurant and bar, and Hansa Engineer, Services dedication and commitment to their annual toy drive did not falter as they delivered toys to the children at Elmhurst and Flushing Hospital pediatric unit during the holiday season.  The generosity of Sunrise members, families and friends continues to grow over as they donated toys of all kinds (cars, trucks, Barbies, Board games, teddy bears, toddler toys, movies, books etc…) to children from all age’s newborn to eighteen years which brought comfort and smiles to the patients and their families faces.

The first visit was Elmhurst Hospital and although it was snowing the Sunrise families and friends turn out in numbers. As Lindsay Wallace, MS CCLS, Child Life Coordination meet and greet the Sunrise group and lead them to the pediatric units where the Sunrise kids with smiling faces delivered toys to the patients wishing them a speedy recovery and happy holidays. At the same time the Sunrise members greeted the patients and families with words of encouragement and supports. In the Emergency for Pediatric the Sunrise family had close up contact with children of various emergency illness as they handed them toys and individually uplifting their spirits. The patients exhaled with joy as some had their parents opened their toys promptly to play with.

Another success to this visit was the Sunrise members were allowed to hand out toys at the emergency waiting room for pediatric. This moment created a joyful atmosphere as the patient with their parents surrounds the Sunrise families and received their toys with feelings of enlightenment. Some of the kids even asked for toys for their siblings who were at home which was moving. Also, it was rewarding to see a kid who received a story book of Clifford the Red Dog asked his mother to read it instantly. Our visits to the pediatric emergency room not only brought joy the patients and their families but also the staff who was please to see smiles in their patient faces. The Sunrise families thanked Lindsay Wallace for making our visit possible and being a wonderful host.

The Flushing Hospital which Sunrise visited last, Rashmi Momaya, CCLS for the Flushing pediatric unit was courteous as she led the visit. The first stop was the play room as the Sunrise family left some games and movies for the patients. Also, she shared a list of patients who were critically ill and was not allowed visiters as the Sunrise family selected and left toys which the Nurses delivered. As Rashmi lead the Sunrise family  around to visit the many patients the Sunrise kids once more handed out the toys with grace wishing them happy holidays and encouring them to get well swiftly. The gratitude and thankfulness from the patients and their families was fulfilling. One particular patient a girl about sixteen loved the teddy bear she was given as she was alone at the time of the visit. She said she love stuff animals and thanks the group for spending time with her.  The parents of the new born patients was elated for the toddlers toys given to them and at the same time it was sad to see new born ill at such a tender age.  As the Sunrise family met with the staff at the nurse’s station they received words of thanks and congratulation form the staff of Flushing Hospitals. Rashmi Momaya who the Sunrise family knows from their visit to Jamaica Hospital during thier 2012 holiday visits was very instrumental in making this visit possible.  Rashmi dedication to make the visits to these kids possible must be commended and the Sunrise members, families and friends thank her for arranging this wonderful visiting during the holidays possible.

Visiting kids and their families and staff during the holidays are special efforts and these visits make it easier for them being away from home during the holidays. Visiting can be done anytime during the year as there are many patients who are there sometimes alone depending on different situations. The Sunrise families and friends yearly visits over the years continue to grow and is rewarding in many ways. Their commitment to bringing joys and patients and their families in our communities hospital during the holidays is significant and must be commended. Their yearly toy drive is an event that the Sunrise members look forward and is close to their hearts.

The toy drive takes planning and hard work and year after year the members of Sunrise continue to delivers with their contributions. In addition, their families and friends support with toys and visiting is overwhelming. The Sunrise members are grateful to their families and friends support to this yearly toy drive and making it another successful l toy drive. To all those who supported Sunrise, not only for this toy drives but throughout the years remember, happiness does not depend on who you are what you have; it depends on what you think and your actions. Continue thinking positive and taking positive actions.