St. Luke's toy drive helps spread cheer to kids who spend Christmas in the hospital

Santas toy box
Posted at 4:38 PM, Dec 01, 2022

Every year, St. Luke’s hosts a toy drive called Santa’s Toy Box. The drive helps spread Christmas cheer to kids who might have a different type of Christmas.

Some kids have to spend their holidays in the hospital battling different illnesses but the community has the chance to help by donating toys to St. Luke’s.

“Christmas is really hard when you might have a child in the hospital so if we can add a little joy by bringing some presents, we make this happen,” St. Luke’s Director for Patient and Family Services Sherry Iverson said.

The drive relies on the community’s help and aims to reduce holiday stress for parents and bring joy to kids in the hospital on Christmas.

Santas toy box

“We want to make this Christmas. So, we encourage everybody to get something soft and squishy like a blanket or a stuffed animal. We encourage reading so we want every child to get a book. We try to make wishes come true.”

Through the drive, St. Luke’s collects thousands of toys that parents then get to pick out to give to their kids on Christmas day.

“Hospitalization just disrupts Christmas. Regardless of how you celebrate that holiday, families have real traditions, and its really important,” Iverson said. “It takes a weight off. When those families walk in. It looks amazing. There’s a lot of tears, for all of us.”

St. Luke's looks for toys for all age ranges and you can find different drop off locations around the valley.

Goody’s in Hyde Park has a drop-off box as well. One employee, a high school student, partnered with the hospital for the drive which he says is something very personal to him.

“Really these kids are going through a fight, and so anything we can do to reassure them that there's light at the end of the tunnel and to keep fighting is really rewarding and really important to me,” Ryan Weiss said.

Weiss says a few years ago, his brother was going through leukemia treatment around the holidays.

Ryan Weiss
Ryan Weiss

“Thankfully he got released over Christmas but there were still a lot of kids that we knew that were in the hospital. The holidays are a rough time in the hospital, especially for kids in the oncology ward that’s a lot of uncertainty. It's nice to give back,” he said.

“This community is so generous and this would not happen without it. There's nothing to small. It's fun that children get to have more normalcy when they might have been here for two days or three weeks and were just trying to bring a little more joy and this community makes it happen.”

Related: The national increase in respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) hospitalizations hits Idaho

St. Luke's is seeing even more kids in the hospital now because of the surge in RSV cases. So, the need for new toys is greater this year.

They are looking for any new, unwrapped toys, gift cards, games and books for kids of all ages, especially infants and teens.