SAN ANTONIO — Addison Meyer became the spark to send toys to the pediatric patients at University Hospital. And she started with pediatric transplant patients, calling her project: Addy's Toy Drive.
"This is a place that their parents have to pay for all their surgeries, and they have a lot of surgeries," she said. "They might not have the money to pay for the toys."
The idea was born from a mask-making venture for healthcare workers in that unit, and a physician shared the expenses the pediatric patients and their parents face. So, 10 days before Christmas in December 2020, Addison insisted on launching Addy's Toy Drive.
"I told her she was crazy," Holly Meyer said. "I said, 'Most of the stores aren't even open. Where are we going to get these toys from? People don't want to be around other people.'"
Addison's goal was to collect 500 toys even in the face of a coronavirus pandemic. She did, and she dropped the toys off at University Hospital to everyone's surprise.
"The toys that we collect for her toy drive are used year-round. They're not just for Christmas; they're for good news days and bad news, surgery days," Meyer said.
Addy's Toy Drive is back for another year. The goal is 1,000 toy items. Foundationally, the drive will gather toys for pediatric patients. But hospital officials said hundreds of other young patients would get toys too.
"My parents spoil me too much," Addison said. "So I just kind of wanted to put myself in other people's shoes."
Addy's Toy Drive comes with elves. The first year she had a few. That number has grown to around 20 children. They bill the toy collection as a toy drive by kids for kids.
Their cute kid status is not a magic wand to success. They face rejection, logistical challenges and competition from established charitable drives.
"The kids have gone door to door to several businesses, but they've been beat out by other charities or events," Meyer said. "But they haven't given up. They just keep pressing on."
Addy and the elves are looking for a surge in donations from December 13-17th. They plan to make their drop-off at the hospital on Dec 18.
Here is a list of their toy collection locations:
- Endurance Elite Gymnastics and Dance public dropbox (15814 University Oak #114) - through Dec. 17 at 4 p.m.
- C&C Ballroom public dropbox Collecting - through Dec. 16.
- Trilogy Dance Center Public dropbox (2602 N Loop 1604 W #111) - through Dec 17. at 3 p.m.
- The Montessori School of San Antonio - collecting from their students on Dec. 16 and 17 during the car drop line.
- TMI - Student Council at TMI is collecting from their students through Dec. 17.
- Garcia Middle School - collecting from their students during Market Day on Dec 9.
- Lilypad Garden and Farm School (18952 Redland Road) - collecting from their students until Dec. 14.
- USAVE Cleaners (public dropbox) 1803 Vance Jackson - collecting until Dec 17 at 4 p.m.
- USAVE Cleaners (public dropbox) 9302 Perrin Beitel - collecting until Dec. 17 at 4 p.m.
- USAVE Cleaners (Public dropbox) 5563 De Zavala Rd #120 collecting until Dec. 17 at 4 p.m.
- Oak Hills Church Crownridge location public dropbox (collection box is in the Student Center) - collecting until Dec. 12 at 12:30 p.m.
- Elite Sports Pole Vault Facility (public dropbox) 284 FM1518 St. Hedwig
- The Performing Arts School of Classical Ballet (public dropbox)
- D1 Sports, 15909 San Pedro Ave. Ste 202 - through Dec. 17. (public dropbox)
- 17530 Henderson Pass - through Dec. 16
- D1 Sports (public dropbox) 132 Old San Antonio Rd, Boerne - through Dec. 16
- Five Below, The Rim Shopping Center (public dropbox) until closing time on Dec. 17
- Inquiries or toy donating questions should email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their Facebook for more information.
Vantage Bank made a significant donation so that Addy and her elves could make Build-A-Bears for the young patients.