Every year since 2008, we've set up at the east side Walmart in Evansville during the weekend following Thanksgiving for the annual 911 Gives Hope for the Holidays Toy Drive with the goal of having you help us fill a 53-foot trailer full of toys for kids spending the holidays in area hospitals. Thanks to your incredible, yet not surprising, generosity, the trailer is always beyond full of board games, coloring books, crayons, action figures, dolls, and other toys once the 60-hour drive comes to a close that Sunday evening. Over the following week, members of 911 Gives Hope and other volunteers sort all those toys by age and gender before they deliver them to the facilities a couple of weeks later where they will be distributed to the kids in their care spending an extended amount of time in those facilities. Again, thanks to your tremendous generosity, each facility receives so many toys, they're able to give them to kids well beyond the holiday season. Typically, once we drop off the toys, we rarely get to see the impact they have on the kids they're designed for. However, a recent e-mail sent by the Ronald McDonald House confirms your donations are doing exactly what they are intended to do.

How Your 911 Gives Hope Toy Donation Impacts Children in Evansville-Area Hospitals

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Instead of paraphrasing the e-mail that was received by 911 Gives Hope board member, Nate Jazyk, from a staff member at the Ronald McDonald House and passed along to me, I want to share it with you in their words because it is so well written I'm afraid that by paraphrasing it, or interpreting it in my own way, it won't have the same impact.

Nate-

If you recall, we met on the day your incredible group delivered the amazing toys, other gifts, and a very generous check to our charity.

I was very new to my position and the charity at that time. You all moved me to tears that day, at both locations when we accepted the delivery.

Even as I am writing this email to you---I just opened the “Prize Closet” for 4-year-old MJ after completing a successful feeding clinic session—even eating popcorn 🍿!

Her mom told me the Prize Closet is definitely a motivator for MJ and as soon as she finishes her sessions, she can’t wait to go to the Prize Closet. Just like MJ’s mom, I see the prize closet as such a motivator and positive reinforcement tool!

I actually started writing this email to tell you about another guest at our Washington House, Jameson. Jameson is also 4 years old and attending the feeding clinic for his therapies. This past week he was really doing well, eating hotdog pieces and applesauce. The big deal was he took his medicine orally for the first time ever, instead of through his feeding port. He was so proud and his mom was so proud as well.  He had several extra trips to the price closet.

Since families stay and return many times across their child’s therapies, Jameson and MJ have become friends. On one of Jameson’s trips to the prize closet, he picked out a necklace for MJ instead of something for himself ♥️. It was such a sweet sight to see him bring the necklace to her.

Please know that every day those toys are making an impact on our families that stay with us!  I am so grateful for 911 Gives Hope!

We see your generosity throughout our houses every day.

Thank you♥️Thank you♥️Thank you!

Is it dusty in here, or is it just me?

It's easy to get caught up in thoughts of whether or not the things we do, like a simple toy donation, really have a real impact on people in our community. This letter overwhelmingly proves that it does.

I imagine there are countless other stories just like this one happening every single day at hospital facilities and clinics right here in the Tri-State because of your willingness to stop by our 911 Gives Hope for the Holidays Toy Drive each year and make a donation. On behalf of 911 Gives Hope and our group of radio stations, I say, "Thank you!" Stories like these don't happen if you don't make a donation that weekend. We hope to see you again (or for the first time if you've never donated before) on December 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, 2022 when the 14th annual 911 Gives Hope for the Holidays Toy Drive gets underway at the east side Walmart.

LOOK: The top holiday toys from the year you were born

With the holiday spirit in the air, it’s the perfect time to dive into the history of iconic holiday gifts. Using national toy archives and data curated by The Strong from 1920 to today, Stacker searched for products that caught hold of the public zeitgeist through novelty, innovation, kitsch, quirk, or simply great timing, and then rocketed to success.

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