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Children’s Medical Center of Dallas hosts toy drive following drop in donations

A child holds a stuffed animal.

The hospital is trying to replenish a toy shortage caused by the pandemic and winter storm.

It was a slow year for holiday toy donations but The Children’s Medical Center of Dallas is off to a good start after the toy drive.

“Towards the end of 2020, into 2021, we did see our donations of toys drop a little bit then what had been previous years, but our need for toys has not dropped,” said Susan Lakey, the director of child life at the hospital.

She said the toys provide comfort to children after medical treatments or surgery.

“It’s something soft to squeeze and hug onto whenever you're not feeling great,” Lakey said. “It's something that you can take with you from place to place and so it provides that comfort, also something that can engage our team and talking with a child.”

The stuffed animals make it easier for medical professionals to interact with patients who may be anxious.

“Sometimes when you are working with a child for the first time and trying to meet them and build some rapport, you can ask them about their stuffed animal and that can be a gentle way to ease into conversation and make a child feel comfortable,” she added.

With the holiday season around the corner, Lakey and her team are seeing an outpouring of support from the Dallas community.

“We're really looking forward to the holiday season and knowing that our community is going to be so generous and that will do nothing but benefit our patients and families," she said.

You can donate to the hospital by buying something off an online wish list on their website, or by scheduling a drop-off donation at the hospital.

Got a tip? Email Haya Panjwani at Follow Haya on Twitter @hayapanjw.

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Haya Panjwani is a general assignment reporter for KUT. She also served as a legislative fellow for The Texas Newsroom during the 2021 legislative session.