By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Town & Village readers once again helped bring some holiday cheer to families who use the outpatient clinics run by Mount Sinai Beth Israel by donating approximately 450 toys and items for new babies to the annual drive this year, overwhelmingly topping last year’s donations of around 250.
Bonnie Robbins, PhD, is the coordinator for children and family services at MSBI and said that the marked increase in donations can be attributed to residents who also donated boxes of diapers, pampers and gently-used baby clothing, which in past years are not items that the drive has received.
Robbins said that some donors use the drive as an opportunity to “declutter” and donations have include used items in poor condition, which the clinics would never give the patients for their children, but most of the clothing was freshly laundered and in great condition, so Robbins said that she was fine with including those in the drive because baby clothing is often “passed down” anyway. Food items like formula were also donated, but unfortunately had to be discarded because Robbins said that the clinics can’t distribute food items that they haven’t purchased themselves because it’s too difficult to tell if the items have been tampered with.
Robbins also noted that donations have dried up in recent years but the clinics are appreciative of anything they can get because the toys may be the only gifts the families receive during the holiday season.
As in past years, Town & Village partnered with Waterside Plaza, StuyTown Property Services and M&T Bank, which had a Christmas tree set up for patrons to put gifts under at their location on First Avenue at East 23rd Street.
Readers donated a range of items for various ages, including coloring books with markers, colored pencils and crayons, building blocks, dolls, animal figurines, board games, toy trucks and cars, educational project kits, educational books, stuffed animals and even a basketball hoop, a basketball and a football, which were all donated separately.
Mount Sinai Beth Israel has 10 clinics located throughout the city, with three in the Kips Bay and Gramercy area, to which the donated toys will be distributed.
Robbins said that despite the decrease in donations over the last few years, even the smallest donations make a difference and the clinics are all very grateful for the toys they can give the kids.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated since publication in the print edition to include a more accurate count of donations.