Yesterday I took part in an event that I know I will always remember…the delivery of a dumpster full of toys to Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland. The toys came from the generous donations from the families of my school, St. Michael School in Independence, Ohio.
How did we get the idea of having a toy drive for Rainbow Hospital? Well, we did it because St. Michael School is a family! One of our students, PJ, has had many surgeries to help him. He has a condition called Craniosynostosis which means his skull does not develop to fit his growing brain. He has had 16 surgeries on his skull to help him. He is a special child…he is a Blue Angel…he is family!
PJ’s family wanted to do something special to help the children who may not be receiving gifts this Christmas season. They know the realities of how the holiday season is for children in the hospital, which is where St. Michael School stepped in. We started PJ’s Rainbow Christmas Toy Drive!
When this started, I’ll admit that my homeroom started off kind of slowly. I was promoting the drive and encouraging my students to give. It was still slow but then all of a sudden it took off! My homeroom started giving…and giving…and even more giving! Entering into the last few days we were at 87 gifts donated by my homeroom! The last day, even more came in! We ended with over 110 gift for the toy drive! I couldn’t have been happier! My students stepped up and overwhelmed me with their compassion and generosity!
Now, this was just my homeroom. Every homeroom was just as generous! The school carried their donations down and we filled up a dumpster full of toys! It was a beautiful sight! It was a sight of our community gathering, donating, and showing the true meaning of the Christmas season!
At the end of day, PJ and his family headed down to Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital to empty the dumpster. I was unsure if I wanted to go, but in the end I decided to go, and I will be forever grateful for my decision! I followed a dumpster from St. Michael School all the way to Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital. It was a dumpster full of joy!
As we waited to empty the dumpster, we were unable to put the dumpster down on the ground, which caused some issue. For some reason, I said just lift me up and I will be the one in the dumpster to empty it. It was me in the dumpster full of the generosity of St. Michael School. It was emotional and joyous! We emptied the dumpster…box after box of toys, books, games, and crafts! We filled up Rainbow’s library! We showed the true St. Michael School spirit…giving to others without questioning what we will receive in return! We give because it’s what we do!
So many amazing moments happened…me not wanting to go, but ending up being the one to unload the gifts…PJ’s neurosurgeon just happened to walk by for an awesome photo opportunity…seeing the faces of the UH Rainbow’s staff as they were overwhelmed by our donations! It was just what I needed heading into Christmas break!
I will never forget having PJ and his brothers join me in the dumpster to help get the items out. I knew of PJ, but I never really met him until yesterday since he is only in 1st grade. After yesterday, I feel like I have known him for a long time!
Yesterday was extremely special. Yesterday was St. Michael School at its finest! Yesterday was a day that I will always remember! I want to thank PJ’s family for letting me be a part of such a special event!