Tuesday, August 21, 2007

It’s a toy-ous time at Yale kids’ hospital

Pamela McLoughlin , Register Staff

NEW HAVEN — Rabbi Yossi Hodakov didn’t realize how meaningful the little things can be to a family when there’s a hospitalized child — until his own 8-year-old daughter had a stay at Yale-New Haven Hospital.
So when Hodakov delivered some 100 toys Monday to Yale-New Haven’s Children’s Hospital, it really came from the heart.

"Most organizations deliver toys in December around Hanukkah and Christmas," Hodakov said. "But sometimes, in the summer, a child can feel even more left out because they know other kids are outside playing and having fun."

Hodakov, director of Chabad of Westville, was asked to distribute the toys by the National Committee for the Furtherance of Jewish Education, based in New York. The donation is part of the organization’s Toys for Hospitalized Children project.

Ellen Good, manager of the Child Life Department at Yale-New Haven Hospital, said the donation is wonderful because the hospital is always in need of toys for its young patients.

Good said there are four playrooms, waiting areas for children in various departments, as well as places such as the emergency room and testing areas where toys are sometimes used as a distraction or just to add fun to the kids’ lives during a difficult time.

Children also get gifts on their birthdays and at other key times during treatment.

"I don’t have a budget, so I rely on donations for the children," she said. "Sometimes at the end of treatment, it’s nice to have a special gift for them."

She said that while the hospital loves receiving gifts at Christmas when the need is so high, it’s true that donations sometimes lag at other times of the year. She said the children’s department can always use toys, games and puzzles for children of all ages.

Hodakov, whose congregation is Orthodox with a focus on outreach, delivered toys with a broad range of age and gender appeal, including plush toys, electronic games and board games.

He said the donation is part of the New York organization expanding its program outside the state.

He said that aside from the joy a toy brings, it’s a nice feeling for children to know someone was thinking about them.

"It’s really a beautiful thing," he said of the cause.

Anyone interested in donating may contact Good at 688-3844.

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