Online Staff Report
A group of area professionals will distribute hundreds of toys to pediatric patients at Rockford Memorial Hospital Thursday, Dec. 8.
The Rockford Health System (RHS) Ambassadors, a volunteer organization of the Rockford Memorial Development Foundation, is holding its annual Holiday Toy Drive Breakfast from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., Dec. 8, in Café 2400 at Rockford Memorial Hospital, 2400 N. Rockton Ave., Rockford.
More than 100 people are expected to attend the event, including RHS Ambassadors and community members who have donated toys or made contributions to the Toy Drive.
Among the attendees will be 8-year-old Jack O’Neil, who has spent considerable time in the hospital and started a foundation to provide toys to hospitalized children.
Jack and his mother, Heidi, will speak about the need for hospitalized children to play and how toys bring both fun and normalcy to their experience.
Several area organizations, schools and businesses who are contributing to the Toy Drive will be attending the event, including the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Rockford Auburn High School Key Club, RHS Hospital Medicine Physicians, Rasmussen College, Rockford Area Chamber of Commerce’s IGNITE young professionals group, and St. Rita Catholic School. Entertainment will be provided by the Auburn High School Jazz Band and dancers from the Rockford Dance Company’s recent Nutcracker ballet production.
Following breakfast, Santa Claus will begin delivering the toys in wagons to children hospitalized on the Pediatric and Pediatric Intensive Care Units of Rockford Memorial Hospital, as well as to those youngsters receiving care in other areas of the health system. Any additional toys collected will be used year-round to stock waiting rooms and play areas throughout the health system.