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Locals collect toys for children's hospital
Lisa Hobbs photo Heather Hodges and her daughter Haven are collecting toys for children who will be spending Christmas at Monroe Carell Jr. Childrens Hospital at Vanderbilt. Donation boxes are located at The Trendy Trunk, Three Star Mall office, and Northside Video.

A local effort is underway to provide Christmas to children at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.

“I’ve done this in the past for St. Jude Children’s Hospital,” said organizer Heather Hodges. “My daughter and I love to do this. It’s a wonderful experience. We want to do our part to make the children smile this Christmas. Christmas should be a time of fun and to be with family. I feel for the children who might not have that.”

Hodges received permission from Vanderbilt to collect the items. Per hospital restrictions, all items donated must be brand new.

According to Erin Rothwell, who is the senior administrative assistant of Child Life and Volunteer Services at the hospital, the hospital uses the toys to try and create the joy parents have when shopping for their children at Christmas.

“All of our holiday donations will be used in our event, Champ’s Holiday House,” said Rothwell. “These items are set up like a shop to be picked out by the patients’ caregiver free of charge. This way, the family can experience the joy of the holiday, even if they are spending it in the hospital setting. We are trying to encourage donors to focus on infant and teen gifts, as we tend to get a lot more items geared for preschool and school-age children.”
A wish list for toddlers includes crib mobiles, infant toys, clothing (sleepers), swings, soothers, and CDs (Sing & Play, Baby Einstein). On the teens list: gel pens, journals, teen/ adult coloring books, colored pencils, purses, board games, puzzles, earbuds, headphones, clothing, makeup kits or nail polish kits, perfume, hair accessories, and activity kits.

Vanderbilt’s deadline for accepting donations is Wednesday, Dec. 20. A complete list can be found by searching “Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital wish list” online.

Donation boxes are located at The Trendy Trunk on Main Street, Three Star Mall office, and Northside Video. Hodges can be reached at 931-952-9957.