ROANOKE, Va. – The holidays are going to look a lot different this year, especially for children in the hospital. Because of COVID-19 safety guidelines, children must remain in their hospital rooms. They won’t get visits from Santa, performers to keep them entertained or be able to play with other children in the playroom.
Carilion Children’s usually relies on corporate sponsors to provide holiday gifts but because most people are working virtually, employee toy drives are less likely this year. Junior League of Roanoke Valley (JLRV) is partnering with Carilion for a toy drive, asking the community to step up and help make the holidays brighter for these children.
“It is an unprecedented year and a difficult time for many across the Roanoke Valley. Our members have a long history of stepping up during times of need, and this year is no different,” said Katie Jones, executive vice president of Junior League of Roanoke Valley. “We could not think of a better way to use our resources and put a smile on the faces of families during the holidays.”
“Over the years, we’ve been so fortunate to receive an outpouring of support from our community to make the holidays a little more normal for children who are with us,” said Dr. Donald Kees, interim chair of Carilion Children’s. “This year is different in a lot of ways, but the need is even greater because it may be more difficult for people to donate.”
Ways to donate include:
● Buy a toy from the suggested list and bring it to one of three Saturday drive-thru drop-offs: November 21, November 28 and December 5 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the parking lot of Tanglewood Mall outside the former JCPenney
● Donate online at www.jlrv.org and that money will be used to buy toys, games and crafts
● Visit Carilion Children’s Amazon wish list and purchase the item(s) to be directly mailed to the hospital
All donations must be new. For a full list of requested items please visit www.jlrv.org.
The two organizations will work together to make this as safe as possible for both the community and patients. Volunteers will wear personal protective equipment and the drive-thru will be contactless. Community members must wear masks when dropping off toys, and they will be asked to place them in the bins themselves. All donations will be quarantined for two weeks before they are distributed. Any toys left over after the holidays will be given out throughout the year.
“To know that people care about them and are thinking about them and to help bring some holiday cheer during a time that’s really difficult for many,” said Junior League of Roanoke Valley Executive Vice President Katie Jones, “I’m sure no kid wants to be in the hospital and we hope that this will brighten their day a little bit.”