The “Force” was clearly with Bobby Ina on a recent morning as he and a group of friends and clients gathered at the Montrose Toys R Us store to drop $6,000 on toys for patients of Akron Children’s Hospital, including Star Wars Legos and other items expected to top wish lists this holiday season.
The store opened early for the group and they had dozens of bagged toys loaded onto a truck and delivered to Akron Children’s before 10 a.m.
“It was a lot of fun,” said Bobby. “We knew what we wanted to buy based on the hospital’s online wish list. We got Marvel toys, Power Rangers, dolls, Play-Doh, Leapfrog, Erector sets. At least $500 worth of Star Wars items. We selected some items based on what our own kids and grandkids like and really some of it was based on ‘Wow, I wish I had that when I was 10!”
Bobby, managing director of Metropolis Consulting LLC, and his wife, Angela, contributed $2,000 to the shopping spree and his friends and clients added another $4,000.
Their donation dollars were stretched even further by good timing. Thanks to a limited time store promotion, for every $75 they spent at Toys R Us, they received a $10 gift card for a future purchase.
“Bobby handed me a stack of these gift cards,” said Helen Aberegg, volunteer training specialist in Akron Children’s volunteer office. “They will really come in handy for special requests. We rely on our child life specialists to learn about the children who will be here for Christmas and what they like.”
Most of the toys will be distributed on Christmas Eve.
Weather permitting, Santa Claus makes a dramatic arrival via Air Bear. After the transport helicopter lands in Perkins Square Park, Santa, Mrs. Claus and a team of elves visit every patient in the hospital.
Each patient typically receives 3 to 4 wrapped gifts and a handmade blanket.
Helen said toys like Erector sets are wonderful gifts for children who have long stays at the hospital.
“They are very engaging,” she said. “Certain toys allow for a lot of creativity and long hours of play.”
Bobby also purchased mandala coloring books based on the recommendation of Akron Children’s child life specialists. Mandalas are very detailed designs – typically lots of geometric shapes within a circular pattern – that can take hours to complete using colored pencils.
One mandala book can cost between $12 and $20, not including the pencils, but they’re a soothing and therapeutic pastime for teen patients who have outgrown toys.
In addition to the toys, Bobby organized a donation of cupcakes and cookies from Acme Fresh Markets for hospital staff.
“We are so grateful to Bobby and his friends and clients for this wonderful donation,” said Helen. “What a way to kick off the holiday season! The generosity of the greater Akron community never ceases to amaze me.”
Thanks to the following for their contributions and help with the shopping spree:
- Sheet Metal Workers Local 33
- Michael Coleman
- Tom and Denise Wiant
- Tri-County Building Trades
- Cement Masons Local 404
- John and Michele Frola
- UFCW Local 880
- Robin Baum
- SMACNA Cleveland
- Tom Martin Jr. and Kirsten Martin
- Laborers’ Local 894
- David and Barbara George
- Bricklayers Union