By Mark Hallum
City Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) and student ambassadors from organizations in his district distributed hundreds of toys to the patients of St. Mary’s Hospital for Children at 29-01 216th St. Friday along with Auburndale Soccer Club and Dwarf-Giraffe Athletic Association.
Children, staff, doctors, volunteers and families exchanged smiles in the event organized by Vallone.
“If there was any event that embodied the true spirit and true meaning of Christmas, it was this one,” Council member Vallone said. “This year was even more special because our very own high school Student Ambassadors organized their high schools on behalf of fellow kids in need at St. Mary’s Hospital. The Ambassadors represent the four high schools within our district: Bayside High School, World Journalism Preparatory School, Holy Cross High School and St. Agnes Academic High School. They worked hand in hand with their fellow students, the Dwarf-Gwarf Athletic League and the Auburndale Soccer Club to collect hundreds of toys.”
The toys came from donors within the network of the organizations involved.
“The St. Mary’s Children’s Hospital Toy Drive working in partnership with Holy Cross High School was an astounding success,” Josip Banovic, Student Ambassador from Holy Cross High School, said. “With help from Holy Cross administration, student ambassadors and local sports groups, the turnout of toys was truly amazing. This drive gives me hope, showing that our community cares about each other, and that this toy drive is just a small thing that we can all participate in to help better the lives of these children.“
Dr. Edwin Simpser, president and CEO of St. Mary’s, was grateful for the donations, which will go toward improving the lives of children receiving treatment through the Bayside medical facility.
“St. Mary’s kids are facing complex medical challenges and I know that these gifts will put a smile on each child’s face and bring some holiday cheer,” Simpser said.
St. Mary’s treats children throughout the metropolitan area through a network of inpatient, home care and community programs through their pediatric health system.
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall