Young patients at the Golisano Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida were treated to gifts in the annual Operation: Snow Pile this last weekend.
Child life specialists and volunteers have organized the pile for the last four years to provide gifts for children patients and their families over the holidays.
Kelly Scher, a child life specialist, said it's hard for parents with a child in the hospital to go shopping, so donated gifts were collected from families, country clubs, schools, community organizations, and even Fisher Price which made a significant contribution.
Operation: Snow Pile. Mckenzie Cassidy.
"We understand having a child in the hospital is a difficult time, especially close to the holidays, parents don't have time to go shopping so we try to help them out a little bit," said Scher.
Every in-patient child was invited to Operation: Snow Pile and allowed to choose three gifts, stocking stuffers, and one stuffed animal. Siblings of the patient were also allowed to pick from the pile.
Scher estimated that nearly 100 people would visit the pile before Christmas.
"We try to help the parents out through this tough time. We are very thankful for the donations we get from the community," she said.
Hospital volunteers helped to organize the pile, wrap presents, and provide holiday treats such as hot chocolate and cookies. A girl scout troop from the Gateway community in Fort Myers also helped with wrapping presents for patients at the hospital.