By Sabina Mollot
Readers of Town & Village have once again made the holidays a little brighter for children stuck in hospital rooms as well as the families utilizing the outpatient clinics run by Mount Sinai Beth Israel by donating nearly 250 toys to this newspaper’s annual drive.
Gifts for kids of all ages were donated this year including instruments, jewelry making kits, board games, action figures and fashion dolls.
Town & Village’s partners on this longstanding community tradition are Stuy Town Property Services, the management of Waterside Plaza and M&T Bank on First Avenue and 23rd Street, who all provided convenient toy dropoff sites.
Bonnie Robbins, PhD, coordinator of children and family services at Mount Sinai Beth Israel, has said in recent years it has been more challenging to get enough toys to meet the needs of patients. This has been, she suspects, in part due to the economy but also competition from other drives for donations from individuals and toy retailers.
Fortunately, the turnout of this year’s drive, she said, will be a big help.
“For some reason, there has been a marked decrease in the number of donors to the hospital and that makes this drive particularly critical as it’s become the main source for toys for our kids,” Robbins said.
The hospital’s 10 clinics are located throughout the city with three in the Kips Bay/Gramercy area, and for many patient families, Robbins has noted, parents often have to choose between clothes for their children or toys.
“As we all know the holidays are a highly emotional time for everybody,” said Robbins, “let alone kids who have high expectations for the holidays and parents who feel they can’t meet those expectations for their kids. So we are extremely grateful for the support of the community. On behalf of our kids and our patients we want to say a heartfelt thank you.”