Dolls, puzzles, coloring books, race cars, balls, and games were some of the hundreds of toys that inundated the Florida Polytechnic University Police Department headquarters. The items were part of the largest annual toy drive the agency has organized for children who are spending the holiday season in a hospital room at the Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center.
“We have been blessed in so many ways, so instead of buying gifts for each other we decided to give back to our community,” said Richard Holland, Florida Poly chief of police. “Christmas is about giving and putting a smile on a stranger’s face, and who better than these children and their parents.”
It’s the third consecutive year the Florida Poly police have partnered with Lakeland Regional Health to bring toys to their pediatric patients, with the hope of spreading joy during the holidays. Students, faculty, and staff were also encouraged to donate toys or give monetary gifts, which Florida Poly officers later used to purchase more items.
“Christmas is a time when children learn the value of giving and receiving, and in this case it may be a distraction from whatever has brought them to the hospital,” said Holland.
This collaboration with Lakeland Regional Health helps create a positive and warm experience to ease the uncertainty these patients and their families may feel, according to Holland. Part of offering comforting care is providing gifts that can help them cope with and adjust to being in the hospital.
“We are very grateful to have an opportunity to spread a little holiday cheer to a child and their family,” said Holland.
Assistant Director of Communications