Sch­winky Toy Drive col­lects over 2,300 toys

Record Observer - - NEWS - By AN­GELA PRICE bay­[email protected]­times.com

STEVENSVILLE — The Sch­wink fam­ily and friends de­liv­ered more than 2,300 toys col­lected by the eighth an­nual Sch­winky Toy Drive to the chil­dren’s unit at Uni­ver­sity of Mary­land Med­i­cal Cen­ter in Bal­ti­more on Dec. 15.

This was the first year of de­liv­er­ing toys to sick chil­dren at UMUC. Pre­vi­ously, the toys col­lected by the drive have gone to Kennedy Krieger In­sti­tute in Bal­ti­more and its as­so­ci­ated PACT Unit and, be­fore that, to Ne­mours/al­fred I. Du Pont Hos­pi­tal for Chil­dren in Wilm­ing­ton, Del.

“The Uni­ver­sity of Mary­land Hos­pi­tal staff were very ex­cited and help­ful un­load­ing all the boxes with us,” Pat Sch­wink said. “It just turned out won­der­ful.”

She said one nurse came out and looked in the truck be­cause she wanted to see want 2,000 toys looked like.

“An­other nurse was so thrilled she hugged my fa­ther so hard, he said he thought she was go­ing to pop his ears,” Sch­wink said. “All the staff made our trip to Uni­ver­sity of Mary­land very en­joy­able. They re­ally treated us kindly.”

The toy drive is or­ga­nized in mem­ory of Michael Sch­wink, who died in 2009 at the age of 23 after bat­tling melanoma for a year and a half. His fam­ily — mom Pat, dad Glenn, brother Chris and his wife Jen and daugh­ter Sadie — with the help of friends and area busi­nesses, or­ga­nized the toy drive in Michael’s mem­ory be­cause he was so fond of chil­dren and played Santa Claus at the United Com­mu­ni­ties Vol­un­teer Fire De­part­ment, where he was a mem­ber.

They were joined Dec. 15 for the toy de­liv­ery by Michael’s grand­fa­ther, 86-year-old Gar­rett Ger­man, who was hugged by the nurse, and friends Mer­ritt Pol­cak, Quin­ten Pol­cak, and Claire Pol­cak, Melissa Rousseau and Dustin Rousseau, Sara Dawes, Maddie Brown, Kari Ou­lahyane, Marty Ap­ple and Kay Al­ston.

They un­loaded the toys and placed them in a spe­cially dec­o­rated room, “The For­est Room,” where par­ents and chil­dren were able to come and pick out presents make their hos­pi­tal stay a lit­tle merrier, Sch­wink said. “We saw some of the chil­dren, but with it be­ing flu sea­son and all, we didn’t get to see a whole lot of the chil­dren.”

Hos­pi­tal staff later re­lo­cated the presents to “The Snow Pile Room” where par­ents could pick out gifts from Santa to be wrapped and de­liv­ered Christ­mas Eve, she said.

The hos­pi­tal posted pic­tures of the de­liv­ery on its Face­book page. “This year, the Sch­winks do­nated more than 2,300 toys to our Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal. Wow! THANK YOU for mak­ing the win­ter hol­i­days brighter for our youngest pa­tients,” the staff wrote.

The ex­act num­ber of toys col­lected was 2,323, Chris Sch­wink said, sev­eral hun­dred more than last year.

United Com­mu­ni­ties Vol­un­teer Fire De­part­ment con­tin­ues to be one of the drive’s big­gest sup­port­ers, Pat Sch­wink said. The fire de­part­ment col­lects toys at its an­nual Break­fast with Santa and dur­ing its Santa runs in the neigh­bor­hoods it serves on south­ern Kent Is­land.

St. Christo­pher’s Catholic Church in Ch­ester col­lected toys dur­ing its Break­fast with Santa and is a reg­u­lar sup­porter, as is the Kent Is­land Cruis­ers clas­sic car club, she said.

She thanked Ed Beers for al­low­ing the toy drive to be part of the Santa Con. Rams Head Shore House, El Jefe Mex­i­can Kitchen in Stevensville and Pour House Pub in Ch­ester all col­lected toys for the Sch­winky Toy Drive dur­ing the event.

The Ma­sonic Lodges in Cen­tre­ville (Lodge 180) and Chestertown (Lodge 115) col­lected toys, so did the Queen Anne’s County Sher­iff’s Of­fice, Sch­wink said. Other busi­nesses in­cluded Hud­son Ma­rine in Gra­sonville, Chick-fil-a on Kent Is­land and Academy Ter­riffic Tan­ning in Cen­tre­ville. A group of youg women also con­trib­uted, she said.

“We just want to thank ev­ery­one who sup­ported the Sch­winky Toy Drive for an­other year,” Sch­wink said.

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

A group of vol­un­teers in the For­est Room at Uni­ver­sity of Mary­land Med­i­cal Cen­ter with their de­liv­ery of toys from the Sch­winky Toy Drive. Pat Sch­wink is seated right of cen­ter.

PHOTO COUR­TESY CHRIS SCH­WINK

Melissa and Dustin Rousseau, in truck, pass toys out to other vol­un­teers. From left: Glenn Sch­wink (lean­ing on truck), Sara Dawes, Mad­di­son Brown and Gar­rett Ger­man.

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