Businesses collecting toys for kids in hospitals
Local businesses collecting toys to brighten Christmas for kids in hospitals
KENNETT SQUARE >> Scores of businesses in the Kennett area are teaming up to bring smiles to children who will be in a hospital on Christmas Day.
Already, so many toys have been collected for the third annual Toys for Eli Toy Tour that one 28-foot trailer truck is stuffed with toys.
“I think we have a responsibility to help other people, especially children in the hospital,” said Bob Blittersdorf, owner of Blitz Automotive in Kennett Square, the prime sponsor of the toy program.
This year, the toy program has been expanded to include every child at A.I. DuPont Hospital in Wilmington, Del., and also to children suffering from cancer on the third floor at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
“This has turned into an enormous overwhelming warmth of caring and giving, and (businesses) wanting to help,” said Brian Blittersdorf, Bob’s son, who is coordinating the project. “My objective from the start was to do something for children who will not be able to sit around the Christmas tree with their families because they are ill. I want to bring Christmas to them.”
Three years ago, only five businesses participated in the toy drive, and this year, more than 40 are involved. Bryan Blittersdorf said toy packages have come in from Rhode Island, Massachusetts and even Florida.
“It’s totally incredible,” he said. “Last year, I filled my 28-foot trailer from front to back (with toys).” This year, I’m looking to double that.”
The toy drive began three years ago when Brian Blittersdorf wanted to honor the memory of Eli Seth Matthews, an Oxford boy who died of cancer in 2011 at the age of 10.
— Brian Blittersdorf “My objective from the start was to do something for children who will not be able to sit around the Christmas tree with their families because they are ill. I want to bring Christmas to them.”
Since then, his father, Paul Matthews, has established the Eli Seth Matthews Leukemia Foundation and has raised tens of thousands of dollars in fundraising efforts for the American Cancer Society.
“This (toy drive) puts smiles on their faces,” Matthews said. “It will continue to expand. It’s done with all volunteers and it just keeps growing.”
Worldwide, 100,000 children die of cancer every year, and in the United States every day, 47 children are told they have cancer, and seven die, according
to the latest statistics. To date, Matthews and his fundraising efforts have contributed over $177,000.00 to Childhood Cancer Research out of St. Louis. Dr. Todd Druley in St. Louis at the Washington University School of Medicine.
“This is a travesty, and it’s devastating for the kids,” Matthews said.
New, unwrapped toys will be collected through Dec. 16, and will be delivered to hospitals on Dec. 17. Stuffed animals will not be accepted.
Some of the participating businesses and organizations where toys can be dropped off include Avondale, Oxford, West Grove, Kennett and Po-Mar-Lin fire companies, Giordano’s,
Napa Auto, Newark Battery, Clipso Hair Salon, Blittersdorf Salvage, Kennett Square and West Grove police departments, Kennett Storage, Before & After, Jennersville Regional Hospital, Creekside Diner, Avon Grove Charter School, Oxford Auto and Tire, Great Clips in Kennett and Oxford, Bailey’s Dairy, Kennett Storage, Sinton Air, Flip’s Barber Shop, Barnsley Academy, Sprout’s Daycare, Great Clips in Kennett and Oxford, Manfredi Cold Storage, Chester County Tire, The Growing Place and ToJo Mushroom Co.
Brian Blittersdorf said the toy drive will continue to be an annual event.
“As long as I can breathe, I will be doing this,” he said.
Bryan Blittersdorf, left, and his father, Bob, hold some of the toys that will be distributed to children who will be in a hospital during Christmas.