BLOSSBURG - A toy collection is under way for children who are patients at Geisinger Medical Center's Janet Weis Children's Hospital in Danville.
Organizer Jackie Ogden said the collection, dubbed "Operation Fill the Trailer," will continue until Dec. 20 when the 14-foot trailer, provided by Eric Pequignot, will be driven to Danville so the unwrapped toys can be distributed by hospital staff.
Monetary donations also are being accepted, "so they can use the money to buy age-appropriate gifts for the kids," Ogden added.
Ogden, whose own son, Nicholas, was a patient at hospital for treatment of hypoplastic left heart syndrome last year, was inspired to start the collection at the suggestion of a friend, Becky Purcell, who heard about the plight of another young child battling cancer.
"She was reading about A.J. Fuller on Facebook and she said she felt she needed to do something to help others so her kids would have that concept," especially at this time of year.
"Within one day of rolling the idea around on Facebook, Eric contacted us stating that he, too, wanted to be involved and would even donate the use of a 14-foot trailer to haul the toys to Danville," she added.
The committee, which consists of Purcell, Ogden, Eric Pequignot, Diana "Moochy" Pequignot and Andrea Kulp, are accepting donations toward the gift drive.
"Should someone have items they wish to donate and need to have them picked up, we can do that, too," she said
Ogden said she knows what it is like to have a bedridden child in the hospital for a long period of time and the limitations placed on them by their situation.
"You are so limited in that setting as to what they can have and not have," she said, adding that books, games, DVDs and video games are best because "they can't even leave their beds sometimes."
Ogden noted that items can be dropped off at the following locations: First Position Dance Studio and Dr. Clark's office in Wellsboro; Building Blocks Daycare, Pequignot Catering and the Brick Tavern in Blossburg; Bergy's Pizza in Arnot; St. Joseph's Hall in Morris Run; and the Colonial Inn and the Post Office in Covington.
For more information on what is needed, call Becky Purcell at 404-5459, Ogden at 404-0920, Eric Pequignot at 404-0371, Andrea Wickman Kulp at 974-8687 or Diana Pequignot at 404-0372.
The "Fill the Trailer" project also has several corporate sponsors, including The Brick Tavern, Bergy's Place, Pequignot Catering, Blossburg Building Blocks, Ward Manufacturing and High Image Photography.