Walter Sponsors “Christmas In July”

Toy Drive to Benefit Kaleida Health’s Women and Children’s Hospital
June 8, 2012

Assemblyman Ray Walter kicks off Christmas in July toy drive.

Assemblyman Ray Walter today was joined by Assemblyman Kevin Smardz, Santa Claus and young patients to kick off his annual “Christmas in July” toy drive to benefit Kaleida Health’s Women and Children’s Hospital. Area residents are asked to donate new, unwrapped toys at various locations across Western New York, starting now through July 25. Walter said the drive will end with a holiday party at the hospital with a visit from Santa Claus and other special guests, and Walter and Smardz delivering toys.

“Western New Yorkers are never slow to answer the call for generosity and compassion when it comes to fellow members of our community,” said Walter. “The ‘Christmas in July’ toy drive puts smiles on the faces of local children facing illness and boosts morale throughout the Hospital. I urge anyone that is able to make a contribution to donate and provide some summertime Christmas cheer to the patients at Kaleida Health’s Women and Children’s Hospital.”

Walter said supporters may drop off new, unwrapped toys at his district office located at 5555 Main Street in Williamsville. Other drop-off locations include the Harlem Road Community Center, the Audubon and Clearfield Libraries, the Amherst Municipal Building and the Amherst Senior Center.

Walter and Smardz, both fathers of two boys, said their sons look forward to helping them with the toy drive. The boys also will be encouraging their friends to make donations and assisting their dads in collecting the toys.

“Our patients, their families and all of us at Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo thank Assemblyman Ray Walter, Assemblyman Kevin Smardz and all those who support this ‘Christmas in July’ toy drive,” said Tara Young, Child Life Specialist, Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo. “We all look forward to the return visit later this summer when the toys are delivered and we enjoy the annual ‘Christmas in July’ holiday party. This will certainly help brighten the day for our many patients admitted here this summer and fall.”

In addition, Assemblyman Walter also encourages local organizations, businesses and churches to collect for the event. “The toy drive can only be successful if we receive support from all sections of the community,” said Walter.

Walter said the toys will be given to current patients, as well as throughout the year to children undergoing surgeries and other medical procedures. Walter recommended some gift ideas for all ages include movies, books, cds and gift cards.

Those interested in viewing specific items that the hospital has suggested can look online at Kaleida Health’s Women and Children’s Hospital Web site.

For more information on the “Christmas in July” toy drive, or if you need an on-site donation pick up, please contact Assemblyman Walter at walterr@assembly.state.ny, or call his district office at 716-634-1895.