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Monday, March 20, 2017

Volunteer-run Love Box brightens children's hospital stays

Little Emma is in Markham Stouffville Hospital because of a skin infection.

It’s tough, but a small gift called a “Love Box” is making a big difference.

“It makes me feel happy,” the seven-year-old told CityNews as she looked through the box filled with gifts bought by a complete stranger. The gift includes things like colouring activities, fancy pens, a journal and her favourite: a glow-in-the-dark rosary in a small pouch. All in a box that was hand-decorated by the family that filled it.

“It made her feel better as soon as she got it,” her father Carlo Vigliatore said.

“It’s really heartwarming. it makes us want to fill our own Love Box now to pass the kindness on.”

The Love Box Project was the idea of a mom who heard of a similar project at other hospitals. Erin Thomson-Giannopoulos had all three of her kids at Markham Stouffville Hospital. She wanted to do something to say thank you and give back.

“Our goal was to fill 50 boxes for children during the holiday season. We ended up delivering over 200 boxes in our first time doing it!” she said.

Thomson-Giannopoulos provides the cardboard boxes to families in the community who would like to participate. The families then fill the boxes with new toys and gifts they think will lift the kid’s spirits. They bring the box back to Thomson-Giannopoulos, who then brings the gifts to the children’s health unit at Markham Stouffville Hospital.

“We just want the kids to know someone is thinking of them, and let them forget about being in the hospital for a little while,” Thomson-Giannopoulos said.

And it works. Emma says she’s excited to make her own to give to another sick child. “Because they’re ill too, and sad. It will make them happy.”

Click here to find out how to get involved.

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