STEUBENVILLE - Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper Ed Weigand and patrol dispatcher Diane Holubeck once again are collecting toys that will be given this Christmas to patients at Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh.
Holubeck and Weigand have been collecting the toys at the patrol's Steubenville and St. Clairsville posts for the past 10 years. They transport the toys to Children's Hospital about a week before Christmas. They normally have to use a small truck to deliver the toys because of the response from the public.
Weigand said the need this year is as great as ever, adding there were 700 children in the hospital a couple weeks ago when he talked to hospital staffers.
Some of the items on the Children's Hospital patients' wish lists include musical books; stacking rings; sippy cups; baby dolls; age-appropriate soft plush toys; Barbie dolls; play tools; Legos; 60- to 500-piece puzzles; coloring, crossword or word search books; hand-held electronic games; fast-food gift certificates; snap-together model kits; CD players with speakers; wooden craft kits; craft supplies (paint, glue, markers and paper); and any age-appropriate board game.
Weigand said gift cards also can be donated and used for the Christmas presents.
"There has been tremendous support from the community," he said. "The people remember the kids every year. They have been more than kind."
The toys will be collected up until the week of Christmas at the St. Clairsville and Steubenville posts. The telephone number used by both posts is (740) 264-1641. The St. Clairsville post also can be contracted at (740) 695-0915, and the Steubenville post at (740) 264-9432 during daily business hours for information about arranging to make a donation of toys and gifts.
The donated toys shouldn't be wrapped, so hospital staff can verify the age appropriateness of the toy, Weigand said. Also, the toys have to be new and in original packages because of sanitary concerns in the hospital, he said.