A Season of Giving at UMCH

Slater Donation

Vicki Slater with Shannon Joslin and Kayleigh McQuaid of Child Life

For the past 10 years, Vicki and Earl Slater have decorated their house, put out drinks and desserts and invited their friends and family over for their annual holiday party. The catch? Each guest is asked to bring a toy to be donated to the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital (UMCH).

When the tradition started years ago, the Slaters had a simple goal in mind: to help the less fortunate. Years later, with a daughter-in-law working at UMMC as a respiratory therapist and a swath of their own young grandchildren, the donation has taken on a new meaning.

“When the kids were little, we thought about how important it was that the kids are healthy,” Vicki said.

The Slaters not only want to spread good will and joy, they also want to help families during difficult times. That’s why they donate to UMCH each year.

The Slaters dropped off the toys in time for the UMCH Snow Pile event, a toy workshop set up for parents and families of patients. Shoppers pick out toys for their sick loved ones for free, which often gives families at the hospital peace of mind knowing that they don’t have to scramble for gifts.

Ray Bachman on behalf of the Kamryn Lambert Foundation with Becky Halagarda, Shannon and Kayleigh

The same day the Slaters dropped off their donation, Ray Bachman of the Kamryn Lambert Foundation dropped off another generous donation—more than 100 Pillow Pets!

Bachman has been involved with giving for the past five years, and always seems to outdo the last year. Not only did he bring the Pillow Pets this year, he also brought enough batteries to power the electronic ones.

And that wasn’t all from the Kamryn Lambert Foundation. The very next week they dropped off another sizeable collection of toys, separated in large boxes by age appropriateness.

Local and state officials

District 25 officials visit a UMCH family

Even some members of the representatives from local and state government came out to support the Children’s Hospital. Members of the District 25 Team came for a visit, bringing a van full of toys and good cheer for all: Council Member Mel Franklin, District 9; State Delegate Darryl Barnes, District 25; Delegate Angela Angel, District 25; Delegate Dereck Davis, District 25; State Senator Ulysses Currie, District 25; and Phylicia Henry, Chief of Staff to Del Darryl Barnes.

Staff at the local Hampton Inn donated all sorts of toys, ranging from board games and coloring books to popular throwbacks like Slinkys. Daniel Thron, Sales Manager at the Hampton Inn, brought the toys over.

Thank you to all of the wonderful donors this holiday season. Thanks to you, the Children’s Hospital is able to keep Snow Pile going for another year.

Hampton Inn

Daniel Thron, Sales Manager of the Hampton Inn Baltimore, with Shannon and Maria Shaffer

The deadline for this year’s Snow Pile donations has passed; however, the Children’s Hospital collects in-kind donations year-round. Your generous support gives all of our patients something to smile about.

To learn more about how you can support the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital patients and programs, please visit http://umm.edu/programs/childrens/about/how-to-help and www.ummsfoundation.org

 

More toys from the Kamryn Lambert Foundation

Our trusty wagon is full of toys for patients!

 

(L-R) Delegate Darryl Barnes, State Senator Ulysses Currie, Delegate Dereck Davis and Council Member Mel Franklin

Debi Katzenberger, in red, plus helpers from the Kamryn Lambert Foundation

 

“These Presents are Unbelievable!”

A mother of a patient in the  University of Maryland Children’s Hospital said to her husband at the child’s bedside, “Honey, you’ve got to go down and see Snow Pile. These presents are unbelievable!”

Imagine spending Christmas in the hospital with your sick child. Perhaps you are separated from your other children who are at home and well, missing their sibling. One parent stays with the sick child, the other parent is at home with the healthy children. Parents feel torn as they try to care for their entire families in different locations.

This scenario is not uncommon during the holidays for parents at University of Maryland Children’s Hospital. So the Child Life team established Snow Pile, a surprise shopping experience for parents of inpatients.

Now in its third year, Snow Pile fills empty room after empty room with presents for children of all ages. Generous corporate and individual donors graciously give presents so that families may “shop” at Snow Pile during the holidays and get a much needed break from the stress of holding vigil at a sick child’s bedside. Snow Pile enables parents to do their Christmas shopping without having to leave the hospital.

Snow Pile is just one example of how the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital tries to treat the whole family by acknowledging the needs of not just the patients, but also the parents and siblings who are all affected when a child is sick. Each year, Snow Pile serves 30-40 families. Parents are surprised to receive an invitation to come to Snow Pile, and many are in disbelief that they can “shop” without limit, for free, and have the gifts wrapped for their child. Snow Pile even provides stockings and stuffers for siblings of patients. This year Panera Bread catered the event, providing goodies for parents to enjoy while their presents were wrapped.

A special husband and wife couple, Bob and Mandy, volunteered this year at Snow Pile, wrapping presents and talking with parents of patients. In 2010, they were on the receiving end of Snow Pile when their son was a patient. They were blown away by the unexpected joy they felt from participating in Snow Pile. Since then, they have volunteered at Snow Pile each year and have turned Christmas into an opportunity for their extended family to donate gifts to the Children’s Hospital instead of buying gifts for each other.

For information on how to donate gifts for children throughout the year, visit http://www.umm.edu/pediatrics/help.htm.