Chai Lifeline Mid-Atlantic Chanukah toy drive to brighten holiday for sick children

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In advance of the upcoming Chanukah season, Chai Lifeline has announced the launch of its annual toy drive with hopes to distribute some 50,000 gifts to more than 10,000 children around the globe.

Playing the game “Operation” to perk up time in the hospital. (Courtesy of Chai Lifeline)

As an international network that supports children and families impacted by serious illnesses, crisis and loss, the Chai Lifeline Mid-Atlantic region works to ensure that each individual gift meets the specific needs or interests of the child who will receive them. The program is called “Chanukah Stars.”

“This is a family-friendly opportunity to bring a smile to the face of a child through a careful matching and gift-granting process,” said Racheli Daniel, director of Chai Lifeline Mid-Atlantic. “Families that sign up to contribute to the toy drive are given an anonymous profile of a specific donor family and their personal Chanukah wish list. The givers then purchase the gifts and can either wrap them themselves or bring them to the Chai Lifeline offices, where they will be wrapped and ready for delivery to the Chai Lifeline family. The heartwarming response so far has been so encouraging and gratifying.”

With each Chai Lifeline region coordinating its own local drive, individuals and families across the United States can participate in the annual Chanukah event knowing that their gifts will be going to help families in their area. Toys are purchased and distributed in various ways, including through Chai Lifeline-curated Amazon wish lists, local stores and schools serving as drop-off points. Baltimore-area families can participate in the initiative by signing up for the program.

“I feel deeply that Chai Lifeline’s ‘Chanukah Stars’ is the best gift I can give my own children — the gift of providing light in a dark moment in another’s life,” says Jaclyn Sova of Baltimore. “Chanukah is truly about looking outside our personal windows and looking for ways to provide light, and this is exactly that.”

For some families, the gifts get delivered to their homes or to hospital rooms, while others will receive them at local Chai Lifeline Chanukah parties or events.

“The holiday season can be particularly challenging for people facing personal or medical crises, and even more so for families with sick children,” said Rabbi Simcha Scholar, CEO of Chai Lifeline. “Beyond the immense financial burden that confronts these families, they are often not emotionally able to think about gift-giving even when they know their children need it most. Chai Lifeline’s role is to be there for them, as we are throughout the year, and ensure that every member of the family gets the love, support and attention they need.”

Chai Lifeline Mid-Atlantic looks forward to continuing to spread the joy of Chanukah at a grand Family Extravaganza, bringing together Chai Lifeline families for an afternoon of energy and entertainment, on Sunday, Dec. 18, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., at Bnai Jacob Shaarei Zion in Baltimore.

For more information, about this year’s toy drive, email: ljakobovits@chailifeline.org or visit: www.chailifeline.org/matoydrive.

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