UFCW 655 helps Santa at Mercy Children’s Hospital put lots of smiles on many young faces

Publisher Emeritus

HUNDREDS OF TOYS FOR HOSPITALIZED CHILDREN collected by UFCW Local 655 overflowed two large SUV vans, Local 655 President David Cook proudly points out. The toys went to Mercy Children’s Hospital for Santa to deliver on Christmas Day to cheer up youngsters whose health put them in the hospital on their most cherished day. – UFCW 655 photo

Christmas smiles on the faces of some 60 children in Mercy Children’s Hospital on Christmas Day were the highlight of a massive toy drive by UFCW Local 655, President David Cook proudly announced.

A month-long toy drive by the union resulted in hundreds of toys being donated to the hospital to ensure a measure of happiness for youngsters who had to be hospitalized on the event they cherish most – the visit from Santa Claus on Christmas.

“Many of our younger kids worry that Santa will not leave presents for them because they aren’t sleeping in their own beds on Christmas Eve,” said Alberta Zenardi Lee, Mercy’s child life manager.

“To eliminate this worry, Santa visits us on the morning of Christmas Eve, going room-to-room to tell each child that he knows they are in the hospital. He reassures them that he will return with presents after they go to sleep. The Local 655 gifts are distributed to the kids’ rooms on Christmas Eve after they go to sleep.”

TURNING OVER TOYS FOR CHILDREN to the nurses at Mercy Children’s Hospital (from left) Alberta Zenardi Lee, Chelsea Hoganson, Hanna Braden and (at far right) Jessi Cook are Local 655 President David Cook (third from right) and Director of Grievance Processing Levi Eddins (second from right). Toys were distributed on Christmas Day to 60 children whose health forced them into the hospital over the holiday. – UFCW 655 photo

Leftover toys not given to children on Christmas Day are distributed throughout the year for events like celebrating birthdays, celebrating the end of chemotherapy and providing rewards following scary procedures, she said.

“We appreciate the men and women of UFCW 655 for helping us provide some Christmas joy to our Mercy Kids,” Zenardi Lee said.

Added Cook, “It’s a joy for our union to be able to ensure so many youngsters don’t feel left out because of their personal health crises. We want to extend a joyful ‘THANK YOU’ to our members, our affiliates and organizations who donated toys and dollars to buy even more toys.”

This is the union’s third year at ensuring children at Mercy Children’s Hospital don’t miss Santa.



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