DANVILLE, MONTOUR COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Stuffed animals, books, and board games… Oh my! But this isn’t your average toy shop. In fact this isn’t even a real toy shop – it’s the lobby of Geisinger Janet Weis Children’s Hospital. Volunteers and hospital staff put together this makeshift toy shop for the families of pediatric patients at the hospital.
“When you’re in the hospital and you have no time to do anything but take care of your child in the hospital Christmas just kind of goes out of your mind a little bit. But you still have children who expect Christmas,” Certified Child Life Specialist Nancy Ramhap said.
Ramhap says the free toys were donated by corporations, Brownie Troops, volunteers, and more. Families were asked whether they were shopping for a boy or girl, and what age range their child was. Then a volunteer walked them through the different sections of toys, helping them find the perfect presents.
This holiday tradition has been going on for 20 years. Ramhap says she sees all sorts of emotions on people’s faces when they see the amount of toys they can choose from.
“Sometimes it’s tears, sometimes it’s absolute joy, sometimes it’s complete relief. The families will stop us and tell us their story and say ‘gosh we didn’t even know how we were going to make Christmas happen this year.’,” Ramhap said.
“I was crying to be honest when I walked in there because it’s very humbling … I’m sorry … Humbling when people do this. Being a sick kid is never good. Being a sick kid is tough… Is tough,” Amy Mahon, whose child is in the hospital, said.
“There’s so many people here ready to help give back through Geisinger. And it’s amazing,” Ramhap said.