It was an early-bird shopping trip on steroids but the thousands of dollars in toys purchased this morning are destined to bring smiles to Akron Children’s patients this holiday season.
Bobby Ina, managing director of Metropolis Consulting, a government relations firm, expanded upon a generous personal donation by asking friends and clients to help him maximize his now annual pre-holiday trip to Toys R Us. The store opened its doors early for Ina and he and his friends had a budget of $11,750 for their toy shopping – a huge increase over the $6,000 Ina raised last year.
Ina and his friends based their shopping list off of the items requested by Akron Children’s child life specialists and therapists. The shopping spree included:
- Toys like Legos, Star Wars action figures, and dolls that always remain popular with children. Santa will deliver them to kids hospitalized at Christmas.
- Rattles, mobiles and sound and motion toys that are wonderful for infants and children with special needs.
- Items like Play-Doh, books and sensory balls that topped the wish lists of our occupational, speech and physical therapists.
- Adult coloring books and colored pencils – Ina bought every last one at Toys R Us as these are extremely popular – and even therapeutic – for both teens and parents who often have long hours to pass in their hospital rooms.
- Small Christmas trees, gifts cards and more toys that will surely help brighten the holidays for some of the patients served by Akron Children’s Haslinger Family Pediatric Palliative Care Center.
The total included about $1,000 in checks made payable to the hospital and a stack of gift cards to various local retailers.
Ina stretched his donation even more by timing his big shopping spree on days when Toys R Us offered $10 and $25 promotional gift cards for every $75 purchase. So he was able to hand Helen Aberegg, of Volunteer Services, a stack of gift cards worth $785 for additional shopping in December.
Among those contributing to Ina’s cause were clients, unions, local businesses and government officials. Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan helped with the shopping and State Sen. Frank LaRose stopped by the hospital with a few bags full of toys purchased by his wife and children. Acme Fresh Market provided baked goods for the clinical staff at a steep discount, and T.H. Martin Inc. transported the toys to the hospital.
Ina was overjoyed to see it all come together in such a big way.
“This just proves that you don’t have to be wealthy to be charitable,” he said. “You just need great friends.”