Busi­nesses col­lect­ing toys for kids in hospi­tals

Lo­cal busi­nesses col­lect­ing toys to brighten Christ­mas for kids in hospi­tals

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Fran Maye fmaye@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @ken­nettpa­per on Twit­ter

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.

FRAN MAYE — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.