Christmas in July brings needed toy donations to children at Delaware hospital

WILMINGTON, Delaware (WPVI) -- "Honestly, we're out of toys right now," said Melissa Nicely, Child Life Manager at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children.

Nicely says donations overall have decreased in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is especially felt in the summer months, which are half-a-year removed from the holidays.

"Typically, the toys that we get in December will last the majority of the year," she said. "And we have a big pile, but as the year goes on, that pile starts to dwindle."

That's where the Soul Riders Auto Club of Delaware zooms in to the rescue. Yesterday, they held their Christmas in July car show and collected toy donations. A caravan of cars led by county police arrived at the hospital to make the delivery this morning.

"God doesn't bless you to keep it to yourself. He blesses you to pass it to someone else," said James "Sonny" Knott, President of the classic car club.

The Soul Riders were founded in 2002 and have spent more than a decade bridging the toy gap for the hospital in the month of July.

"We all have children at home, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews, but the majority of us are blessed to have them home with us," said Knott. "So, it's a great thing for us to be able to collect just a few toys and bring here and be a help to someone."

Those toys are especially needed this year as pandemic protocols continue inside the hospital. Kids are no longer allowed to share toys in a common area and must play by their bedside. In addition, certain toys can not be sanitized and passed on to a new patient. So, new toys are needed to replace those that cannot be recycled.

Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children is hosting a "Halfway to the Holidays" virtual toy drive to acquire more donations. They have also created an Amazon Wishlist where donors can purchase items that are directly shipped to the hospital.

To learn more, visit their website.

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