The Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) donates 50 brand new box cars and 70 new teddy bears to the Pediatrics department at St. Mary’s Hospital. According to Bethany Coffey, co-president of the Centralia High School FCA, “We felt it was important to reach out to the community and show support to not only the city of Centralia, but the hospital as well. Most importantly, we wanted to help spread the love of Christ to the children who are hospitalized. There are so many children in our community who need to feel loved and this is the best way for us to do it.” Coffey continues, “Obviously, we donated to St. Mary’s Hospital because they treat our local children on a daily basis. A hospital can be a scary place for kids, so we just want to help the children feel special and not scared.”
The students made flyers and placed an ad in the local paper to advertise their project. They hung flyers throughout the school and in the gym. According to Liz Jack, an employee of Centralia High School and sponsor of FCA, they received stuffed animals and cash which was used to purchase the toy cars.
Marla Smith, RN, BSN, Director of the Pediatrics unit at St. Mary’s Hospital, is very grateful for the donations. To maintain high safety standards, the hospital does not keep toys in a play room as germs are so easily shared. Smith states, “Each hospitalized child has something new to play with and it becomes their toy. The toy goes home with them too.” Smith continues, “I and the Pediatric staff are very appreciative of the FCA’s gifts. “
The St. Mary’s Hospital Foundation has also supported the purchase of low-cost, safe toys for the St. Mary’s Hospital Pediatrics unit. Scott Niermann, Foundation Director states, “St. Mary’s Hospital is grateful to have the support of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes of Centralia High School. “ St. Mary’s Hospital Foundation established a fund for the Pediatrics Department in 2011, beginning with a gift from two children in the community who wanted to give back to other children who become patients in Pediatrics. Gifts like these, small and large, support a variety of needs and expenses associated with providing exceptional healthcare to some of the youngest members of our community. Niermann said, “We thank the students for their commitment to the children we serve.”
“The timing of the FCAs generosity is perfect as there is always a need following the peak hospitalizations in the winter months”, states Smith. “The FCA truly is meeting a community need, and we thank them along with Liz Jack and Bethany Coffey for their leadership of their students.”