Hinsdale South toys drive to bring comfort all year long
Anna Bellot, 7, of Westchester receives a stuffed animal from Hinsdale South senior Maheen Husain of Willowbrook. | Ryan Pagelow~Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 25, 2013 2:22AM
HINSDALE — Medicine doesn’t always come in pill form.
The medicine delivered to Adventist Hinsdale Hospital by members of the Hinsdale South High School Psychology Club Dec. 19 came in the form of teddy bears, coloring books and toys.
“We’re not being Santa Claus. We’re comforting a child who is stressed and anxious,” said South psychology teacher Russell McCormack, founder and sponsor of the Psychology Club.
The club, made up of students in all four grades, meets throughout the year for those interested in learning more about psychology and its role in society, including in medicine. The Kids Helping Kids Toy Drive, which takes place at the end of first semester every year, is a hands-on exercise in how physical health is linked to psychological well-being.
Nurse Tracy Daly welcomed the South students and gave them a tour of the hospital, including a brightly decorated playroom where children can relieve their stress and relax. Both, she said, are important components to healing.
Throughout the year the hospital draws from its toy collection to offer comforting gifts to young patients. A teddy bear, Daly said, can help a traumatized child, and a coloring book or game can distract them from their troubles.
“The hard work and generosity of these young people will make a very big different for hundreds of hospitalized children during what can be a very anxious time for kids,” Hinsdale Hospital Foundation Executive Director Susan King said.
Members of McCormack’s five classes collected 1,800 toys in this year’s drive.
“We’re stocking their toy chest,” McCormack said.
Students got to see their donations at work when one student handed a Cubs teddy bear, complete with cap and bat, to a little boy who was on his way home after a hospital stay. His glum face instantly opened into a smile as he hugged his new toy.
“It just makes them happy,” said junior Denesha Shell.