Volunteer Spirit: Spreading Christmas cheer at Children's Hospital

ETCH staff make sure the little patients aren

A newly born baby girl named Danica Camacho, the Philippines' symbolic seven billionth baby, as part of the United Nations' seven billion global population projection, is weighed in government's Fabella Maternity hospital in Manila on Monday Oct. 31, 2011. (AP Photo/Erik De Castro, Pool)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn (WVLT) -- Boxes and bags of toys line the hallway of the marketing department at East Tennessee Children's Hospital.

People have been dropping off the gifts for weeks now, hoping to spread some holiday cheer.

Staff sift through and sort the toys according to gender and age.

Every child waking up in the hospital Christmas morning gets a sack filled with stuff like games, barbies, cars, anything fun to play with.

Then Santa will make his rounds.

This way, the little patients don't miss out and there's no pressure on the parents..

Anna Taylor, a child life specialist at ETCH says, says, "You don't have all the comforts of home here at hospital. More than likely they don't plan on being here. They obviously don't have the toys and gifts (for Christmas) and aren't able to go home and get them, because they want to be here with their child."

But the hospital still needs a few things including items for babies under a year old, like teethers and toys.

Also gifts for teenage boys, like winter gear, such as hats and scarves, or athletic gear like a nerf football.

This way, Santa will have enough toys for all the girls and boys.

Taylor says, "We try to make it to be a merry Christmas for these patients even though they have to be here. We try to make it special for them."

You can bring the toys and gifts to the Communications Department at ETCH until 12 (Noon) on Saturday, December 24th.

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