For the past 26 years, Tree of Hope has been collecting and distributing toys to hospitals across Minnesota. It is difficult for a child to be hospitalized anytime, but more so over the holidays. As one hospital stated, “These gifts make it possible to create a more comforting and more comfortable environment for our young patients. These gifts will help brighten the lives of our hospitalized children.”
The Tree of Hope is a volunteer effort by Minnesota pilots to collect and distribute Christmas gifts for seriously ill hospitalized children. This volunteer collection was started with the help of the Minnesota Flyer magazine in 1990 with the idea that many terminally ill children and their families needed to know that others were thinking of them. They needed hope for a cure, hope for getting better and hope for the future, no matter how short. Tree of Hope is the only organization that consistently supplies toys to hospitals over the holidays.
The collection now gives toys to many over the holidays. The child may be a transplant patient, cancer patient, surgical patient or a child who has a serious injury requiring him or her to be in the hospital. The collection will provide thousands of gifts for infants and children through 18 years of age. In the Sandstone area, caring people may bring an unwrapped new present to the Pine County Courier office.
On Saturday, Dec. 3rd, the gifts will be taken to the Maple Lake Airport in Maple Lake, Minn. and will be delivered to children in Minnesota. There are no administrative costs.
Transportation of gifts is done by volunteers. Some of the toys that a child can use while they are in the hospital are board games, hand-held games, small cars and trucks, books, dolls, crafts, crayons and coloring books. The older child might like a chess game, I-Tune cards, jewelry, cosmetics, magnetic chess and checker games. They especially appreciate hand-made items like hats and scarves or lap quilts. Anything that will bring a smile to a young person’s face is welcome.
Last year the Tree of Hope delivered toys to 38 hospitals across Minnesota – from Duluth to Rochester to Fergus Falls. Tree of Hope is supported by the aviation community, Minnesota Experimental Aircraft Association Chapters, Minnesota Chapter of Ninety-Nines Inc., Minnesota flying clubs, Zuhrah Shrine Flyers, International Organization of Women Pilots and individuals and families interested in aviation.
If anyone is interested in participating in this year’s collections and has any questions, please contact Mary Ellen Dewey at the Courier, 245-2368. The Minnesota Flyer is produced in Sandstone in the Pine County Courier building. The publisher is Tim Franklin of Sandstone.
Go to the Tree of Hope website for more details or to donate by credit card or PayPal www.holidaytreeofhope.org. Toys will be purchased with any money donated.
The Courier collects toys year round for this program.