(WXYZ) — The holiday season is stressful enough for moms and dads, but imagine what it’s like for parents whose children are hospitalized during the holidays.
Christmas shopping would be hard to do, but thanks to volunteers and donations, parents of patients at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital can cross that off their list.
Their holiday "store" is bringing families holiday cheer. For the eighth year, Mott Children’s Hospital created a store for parents of patients, like Natasha Mitchell, to do some holiday shopping.
“It’s really hard,” Mitchell said.
Her 17-year-old daughter is a patient. Between caring for her and her sons, this working mom doesn’t have a lot of time to go to a mall.
“It’s a blessing," she said. "It is a big weight lifted off my shoulders.”
More than 200 volunteers helped make this happen. Parents can pick up to five presents for their child who is a patient and up to two gifts for each sibling.
And when you’re done shopping, you can get it wrapped too! pic.twitter.com/nCjXBAmWqO— Syma Chowdhry (@SymaChowdhry) December 18, 2019
Take a look at all these racks of toys! pic.twitter.com/AZ5gkVRmk0— Syma Chowdhry (@SymaChowdhry) December 18, 2019
Last year, about 900 kids received presents. Kevin Smith is with CS Mott Community Relations.
“I get the warm and fuzzies talking about it right now, thinking about how big it has become over these last few years and what I hope it looks like in the future,” Smith said.
There are about 5,000 toys to choose from for a variety of ages, so there's something for everyone.
“Blankets, pillow cases, (a) little bit of everything – Legos, Barbie dolls,” Smith said.
Mitchell added that it's "exciting because it was so much to choose from."
"I’m like where do I start,” she said.
Autumn Colon, 18, is a patient and she’s shopping for her siblings and getting a little something for herself.
“It’s a lot, mostly when you can’t leave your room or if you have a holiday in the hospital,” Colon said.
When the gifts are picked out, you can finish the task by getting it wrapped. Mitchell was happy to hear that because she says her wrapping is horrible.
Laughter and relief during such a stressful time for these parents, that’s a gift in itself.
“There are always happy tears, there’s shock, awe, lots of hugs, thank yous,” Smith said.