Today Senator Tim Kennedy joined Allegra Jaros, President, John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital (OCH), along with Kaleida Health staff and local community and government leaders to deliver more than 8,000 blankets to children at OCH, which more than doubled the amount collected last year.
The program began in 2016 by Senator Kennedy after hearing from doctors, nurses and parents, who explained how common it was for young patients to become anxious over the “unknown”that a trip to the hospital can bring, “They said that even the smallest and simplest items like warm blankets can remind kids of home and help to calm these growing fears, but these items are not a reimbursable expense for the hospital, and therefore they rely entirely on the generosity of the community to provide this small comfort to children in their care.” Due to the high volume of young patients these facilities see every day, keeping the supply of blankets stocked is often difficult.
After an overwhelming response last year, the drive was extended by two months, running from October 1st to February 1st. “Once again, Western New Yorkers have gone above and beyond to take care of our region’s most vulnerable kids. We set a goal to double last year’s collection, and the City of Good Neighbors took that as a challenge and surpassed it beyond our wildest expectations,” said Senator Tim Kennedy. “One blanket may seem like a small lift, but it has an incredible impact on the life of a child who is anxious about the unexpected that awaits. Whether you were a small business, a student, a friend in labor, or simply someone looking to make a difference in their own way, your generosity is felt and will go a long way.”
More than 40 community partners participated in collecting blankets this year. “The response to this year’s blanket drive was simply remarkable,” said Senator Patrick M. Gallivan. “Many of our local school districts eagerly participated by making and collecting hundreds of warm blankets. Others came from Cub Scout packs, local businesses and residents. As we have seen so many times in the past, when our community hears of a need it responds in the most heartwarming and generous way. I thank everyone who donated and I know these blankets will bring some much needed comfort to the patients at Children’s Hospital.”