Medical College of Georgia Children's Medical Center employees try to make gifts given to the center during the Christmas holidays stretch throughout the year.
"My department depends on the community," said Katie Lawhead, a child life specialist and donations coordinator at the children's hospital, as she received a load of toys Tuesday from Paul Brewer, of the Riverfront Marines Detachment 1132, of North Augusta.
Many organizations and individuals have donated toys to the hospital this Christmas, Ms. Lawhead said.
Some of the presents will be used today during a visit from Santa Claus, who will distribute gifts to all the children in the hospital.
Officials said there will be between 150 and 200 children in the hospital during the holiday season.
Along with their presents, the children will have their pictures made with Santa, even the tiny patients in the neonatal intensive care unit .
Ms. Lawhead said children receive a toy when they come to the hospital for surgery or other procedures, so the toys not given at Christmas are used for those occasions.
"They get to pick it out," she said. Children who have conditions requiring more than one surgery can pick a new toy each time.
On average, the hospital gives "about 300 toys a week," she said.
Ms. Lawhead said the need for toys increases during the summer because many surgeries are scheduled to coincide with the school break.
Mr. Brewer said they purchased about $600 in toys for the children through donations given by the Austin Industrial Inc. personnel of the PCS Nitrogen Inc. maintenance shop, Augusta Service Co. Inc. employees and PCS Nitrogen Inc. production personnel.
Although he represented the Marine Corps League, Mr. Brewer said his reasons for giving to the hospital were personal.
His friends, the Wolford family, have a son who receives weekly treatments at the hospital. Paddy Wolford, 5, has received several toys from the hospital.
"It takes his mind off things," said his father, John Wolford. "It completely occupies him."
Reach Charmain Z. Brackett at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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