STEUBENVILLE - Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper Ed Weigand and patrol Dispatcher Diane Holubeck 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 11 years. They transport the toys to Children's Hospital about a week before Christmas, and they usually use a small truck to deliver the toys because of the response from the public. About 7,000 items were collected last year.
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 staff.
Some of the items on the Children's Hospital patient wish list 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 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, which is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, also can be contacted at (740) 695-0915. The Steubenville post can be contacted (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.