Donating toys for holidays: What you need to know to brighten a child’s day
Your generous gift can help children throughout the year
Morgan Elms chose nail polish as a treat from the Banner Thunderbird toy closet
People may not realize how much their donation can mean for children beyond the holidays

PHOENIX (Dec. 13, 2019) – When you donate to a hospitalized child during the holidays, you may be making more than just special memories for one child: you could be helping many children all year long.

Today is the last day to make a toy donation at any Banner Urgent Cares in Phoenix and Tucson. Drop off a toy or text Banner to 95495 to donate money for a new toy.

Donations made to Cardon Children’s Medical Center and Banner Thunderbird Medical Center may go right to the child in their sickbed or it may go to a toy closet or a hospital playroom. Medical staff encourage children to visit to the toy closet as a special treat after they undergo an uncomfortable or invasive procedure.

 “People may not realize how much their donation can mean for children beyond the holidays,’’ said Wendy Pauker, senior manager of Child Life Services at Banner Thunderbird Medical Center. “Legos or craft kit or art supplies can be put to good use all year long by kids who could use a bright spot in their days.’’

Soundbite: Audio of Wendy Pauker speaking about importance of toy donations

Morgan Elms is proof of that. The 14-year-old West Valley girl is in the hospital for a digestive disorder that makes it difficult for her to keep food down.

“It can get kind of boring in here and it’s nice when people think of us,’’ said Elms, who attends Odyssey Preparatory in Buckeye. “When I get out of here, I definitely want to give back.’’ This is second time Elms has been hospitalized in a year.

Soundbite: Audio of Morgan Elms talking about what it is like for a hospitalized kid to get a donated item

During this time of the year, Pauker frequently gets asked what people should for pediatric patients. “I tell them buy what they would buy for their children or grandchildren.’’

Banner Health Foundation also has a downloadable wish list to help people with the choices.

Banner Children’s hospitals treat patients who are 18 years old and younger, so for all ages are appreciated.

Pauker also offers these other tips for donated items:

  • All toys and gifts must be newly purchased due to infection and safety concerns.
  • Please have items in original packaging
  • Toys or stuffed animals should not that have been exposed to smoke.


Also available: b-roll footage of Banner Children’s toy closets

About Banner Children’s

Banner Children’s, part of nonprofit Banner Health, cares for more kids than any other health system in Arizona. From well-child exams to treatment of minor injuries and illnesses to management of chronic conditions, the experienced team at Banner Children’s provides comprehensive, family-centered medical care for every child in Banner Health centers and clinics, emergency rooms, hospitals and outpatient facilities. Services include: behavioral health, cancer care, diabetes and endocrinology, digestive care, emergency care, heart care, neurosciences, primary care, surgery and more. For more information about Banner Children’s services, physicians and locations, visit