'Smiling While Sending Hope' gives hundreds of toys to kids in hospitals despite pandemic shortage

YOUNGSVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- A nonprofit group is once again working hard to get toys in the hands of children spending Christmas at a hospital.

"Board games, Legos, some accessible things like wheelchair Barbies and cancer Barbies," Katie Haynes said.

For the eighth year in a row, Katie and her nonprofit Smiling While Sending Hope will provide hundreds of toys to kids spending Christmas in the hospital despite supply chain issues and shortages.

"We got a little bit less than we did last year, but it's still going to provide a blessing to so many people," Katie said.

Because of multiple rare chronic disorders, Katie knows what it's like to spend the holidays in the hospital. That's why every year it's her mission to give back by collecting toys throughout the year for this huge drop-off.

This year hospitals all over the Triangle, including WakeMed, will receive toys.

"It just really gives them that sense of having a home away from home when they have to spend it in the hospital with us," WakeMed Child Life Specialist Erin Hurlock said.

Smiling While Sending Hope is on a mission to spread smiles and hope this holiday season.

"I feel like all these kids if they're going to be in the hospital during Christmas, they need a smile too because they didn't want to be there," Katie said.

You can still donate year round by clicking here or visiting this Facebook page.
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