Volunteers raise money to help children in the hospital focus on fun, ease fears

Volunteers raised $11,500 for toys that keep young patients’ minds busy during hospital stays and encourage positive hospital experiences.

Posted: Aug 7, 2019 6:26 PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) A woman in St. Joseph has a delivery service that soothes anxious young patients on their way to the operating room or waiting in the E.R.

Knocking on a child’s hospital room door, Shay Homeyer peeks her head inside with a surprise that prompts a big grin.

“We have coloring books, stuffed animals, even toy cars,” Homeyer said. “It’s just a little something that brightens their day.”

It’s a familiar scene at Mosaic Life Care, where Homeyer visits children with a rolling cart full of toys — or Park Cart, as she calls it — to ease fears.

Rather than letting little imaginations run wild, children at Mosaic are kept busy while waiting for surgery or in the emergency room. The young patients have a choice between coloring, reading or a stuffed animal.

A nurse at the hospital started the program after seeing how the atmosphere of hospitals intimidated children. After a little research and testing patients’ reactions, she launched Mosaic’s Park Cart.

The cart has been a huge hit amongst the children, and staffers say that it has been hugely successful in relieving the children’s anxieties.

Though the cart is a fixture at Mosaic, it is not funded by the hospital. Instead, it’s funded solely from donations. What started as a small fundraising idea evolved into an $11,500 donation. It’s enough to fund the cart for the entire year.

The money was raised through the Kohl’s Cares Program. The corporation allows Kohl’s employees to raise money for eligible 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations by logging personal time volunteering. In support of those volunteer efforts, Kohl’s donates $500 for every five employees that volunteer.

The bedside activity not only brightens young patients’ days but also shapes the way children view hospital visits. If children have positive hospital stays, they may be more inclined to want to work for Mosaic Life Care when they grow up, Homeyer said.

“Children are the caregivers of the future,” Homeyer said. “We want them to grow up and want to work at hospitals.”

A total of 15 Kohl’s employees volunteered at Mosaic and raised money for the cart.

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