Originally published in Fox News – December 8, 2021
This holiday season, Tyler and Monica Slaven are hoping to bring another 11,500 toys for the children at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.
It all started when the Slaven siblings teamed up in 2015 with one mission: to help children who are in the hospital on Christmas.
"Seeing a child who truly understands … the joy of Christmas is priceless," Tyler Slaven told Fox News. "We wanted to help the kids still have that joy, for those who are in the hospital during Christmas."
Six years ago, the siblings began utilizing their school's expansive network of students and staff to get volunteers and donations.
The Ohio Virtual Academy, an online public school for K–12 students, serves more than 18,000 kids from across the state, according to Tyler Slaven.
"The school does a tremendous job of helping us get the word out every year and reach new people, since we are a statewide school," he said.
With the help of the students and faculty, the Slaven siblings would start placing toy donation boxes in different towns across the state.
They would also stop by droves of businesses that were "very eager" to help them out with monetary donations as well as donating actual toys, Tyler Slaven said.
The Slavens collect donations until Dec. 10.
At that point, the Slaven siblings and their team of volunteers use the donations to buy toys at local stores.
In 2015, they were able to donate 800 toys to the hospital. One year later, that number more than doubled, amounting to 1,700 donations.
In 2017, they donated 3,000 toys. However, in 2018 and 2019, the toy drive broke the hospital's record for the single largest donation with 9,200 and 20,300 toys, respectively.
Every year, the toys are packed in a U-Haul vehicle and various cars and taken directly to the children.
"Once you get on the [hospital] property, it is just phenomenal. They're so friendly and welcoming … and spirited," Tyler Slaven said. "It's a true joy to be around."
Not only do these toys bring holiday cheer to the children and their families, but they also take their focus off of being in the hospital, he added.
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