Christmas became a bit merrier for pediatric patients at Lutheran Medical Center thanks to a group of giving students from P.S. 188.
On Thursday, November 18, 17 students from the school’s student body visited the hospital to spread holiday cheer by delivering dozens of toys donated by both the school and the FDNY to the patients, ranging from six months to 12 years old, battling various illnesses.
The eager students entered the hospital, with several bags of toys, ranging from Hot Wheels to dolls and everything in between.
“It’s just really great to be here because when I was a little kid, the same thing kind of happened to me,” said Jerome Bush of P.S. 188. “I was sick and a lot of people came and helped me and gave me toys. It’s good to do the same.”
Classmate Amya L. felt the same way. “It feels great because I realize kids don’t have things what I have.”
Before the students visited the ailing children in their rooms, Chair of Women and Children Services Dr. Kevin Fitzpatrick paid a visit to thank them for their efforts. “This is fantastic, especially to see kids that are helping one another out,” he said. “It’s really important for these boys and girls to know there are kids out there that are ill and not having great days. It’s also important to know if that happens to one of them, that their peers will be there to help them out and make sure things are good.”
President of Lutheran Family Health Center Larry McReynolds also stopped by “Thanks for everything you’re doing for spreading holiday cheer,” he told the students. “It’s not just about you. It’s about all of you. I hope you all have a fun time bringing joy to others.”
The students then traveled to the rooms to spend time with the patients, who were pleasantly surprised and grateful to receive early presents and have Christmas brought to them. Nine-year old Alexander A., a student at P.S. 226, was thrilled to receive gifts. “Thank you so much,” he told the group. “I really like my gift and was really surprised. I’m probably going to open it today.”
Chiniza Batista of the LFHC Board of Trustees and a P.S. 188 staffer discussed how the day was made possible. “The idea came from Principal Frederick Tudda from P.S. 188. He wanted to give back because our school was damaged in Sandy and we wanted to teach our students about giving back and compassion so we started the idea of Secret Santa,” she said. “I think the most important part is that the kids saw other kids were smiling and appreciative and thankful for that. It makes all the difference. It’s an awesome experience for our students to know and learn about compassion.”