This year, the staff at Ridge Park Elementary School (RP) took a break from their usual holiday pollyanna to help others.
"Instead of exchanging staff member presents, we decided it would be more rewarding and worthwhile if we all brought in presents for children in the hospital who need some cheering up and support," said RP Teacher Jennifer Jennings.
The toys were headed to Nemours/Alfred I duPont Hospital for Children under the watch of RP Kindergartener Jessica Jara and five-year-old Delaney Sturm, granddaughter of RP Second Grade Teacher Donna Sturm. The best friends have been doing an annual toy drive since both visit the hospital several times each year for ongoing checkups.
"We're giving the toys to the kids at DuPont, so the kids can play with them when they're in the hospital," said Delaney Sturm, who'll be a kindergartener at Plymouth Elementary School in the fall. "It makes me feel good."
It's also a happy reason to head to the hospital for Jessica and Delaney, who have been regulars at Nemours/Alfred I duPont Hospital for Children since before they were two.
"Typically, Jess and Delaney go together for their appointments and get blood work, MRIs, CAT scans, CT scans. Delaney gets hearing and eye exams, and so the hospital is often associated with things that are kind of negative," said Kate Richmond, Jessica's mother. "But this day they get to go and do something fun together. They have an entourage of wagons full of toys and go from floor-to-floor and room-to-room. So it's a fun day."
The staff collected several wagon's worth of toys, including gifts that will be appropriate for older children and teenagers.