Siblings Tyler and Monica Slaven started a Christmas tradition in 2015 that has become a major movement at their school.
It started when the brother and sister realized that kids who have to stay in the hospital during Christmas don’t often get to experience the level of Christmas joy that they would otherwise.
“Seeing a child who truly understands … the joy of Christmas is priceless,” Tyler told Fox News. “We wanted to help the kids still have that joy, for those who are in the hospital during Christmas.”
They turned to their online public school, the Ohio Virtual Academy, which has over 18,000 students across the state according to Fox.
Thanks to the reach of the school, the Slavens were able to reach students and staff across the state when making their toy drive request for the kids at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.
“The school does a tremendous job of helping us get the word out every year and reach new people, since we are a statewide school,” Tyler said.
Volunteers put out donation boxes in various towns as Christmas draws near, and as a result, the two siblings have been able to collect nearly 50,000 gifts for hospitalized children over the past six years.
Despite no longer being students, the school is still very supportive of their endeavors and proud of their alumni.
“OHVA will once again partner with the Slaven family for the 7th Annual Christmas Toy Drive to benefit Nationwide Children’s Hospital!” they posted on Nov. 21.
“You & your family can join in spreading some holiday cheer to children that will be unable to spend the holidays at home with their families due to health issues that require them to be at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.”
Donations are being accepted until Dec. 10, as the toys will be delivered on Dec. 12, and they request that the gifts be non-violent. Everything from baby rattles to model kits are acceptable, as they are seeking gifts for patients from babies to teens.
The Slavens collected 11,500 toys last year during the pandemic and are hoping to collect around 11,500 toys this year — they’re certainly giving Santa a run for his money.
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