TEMPLE (December 26, 2012)--Temple Fire and Rescue took on a different emergency on Tuesday they brought holiday cheer to children who weren't able to make it home for Christmas.
Patients at McLane Children's Hospital received gifts that were loaded up on red wagons by emergency responders.
Over 200 toys were donated by the professional firefighters association.
"Hopefully by receiving a toy from the firefighters and a friendly smile and face, it will make their day a little easier both for the parent and the child," said Thomas Pechal, Temple Fire and Rescue spokesperson.
Some children receiving gifts have been at the hospital for over a month while others were admitted on Christmas Eve. The tradition of delivering toys to children at hospitals has been taking place for several years, according to Pechal.
Last week the hospital held their Santa's Workshop for parents who didn't have time to shop for the holidays. A parent was able to pick out a free gift for their little patient and also for the patient's brothers and sisters.
"We had a parent who came down to the workshop and was really in tears that day because she said 'I didn't know I was going to be able to provide Christmas for my children and couldn't thank you enough.' But is wasn't us, it was the community that did that for us," said Jan Upchurch, Director of Family and Patient Support Services at McLane Children's Hospital.
But toy giving at McLane goes way beyond the magic of the holidays.
Through community giving and support throughout the year, hospital staff provide toy bears after surgery, a gift for birthdays and even a toy to help ease the pain after tragedy strikes.
"Those children who come in the emergency room, may have lost their favorite toy or maybe many of their toys," said Upchurch. "We have the chance to help them start over or get something that may be meaningful to them during this time."
The hospital also receives donations of colorful hand-made blankets to provide kids to brighten up the white bed sheets.
Providing a child with a toy can also help them stay calm and feel at ease during their time as a patient, said Upchurch.
For those who would like to donate toys, blankets or clothes to McLane Children's Hospital can contact the McLane at 254-724-5437 or visit their website at: www.swchildrens.org
or the Scott & White Healthcare Foundation at 254-724-2768 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.