Volunteers at Pratt Regional Medical Center are serious about funding two $1,000 scholarships each year for students interested in going into the health care field. This year they're having a lot of fun raising money to support the project.
Instead of the usual bake sale, they're selling toys from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6 in the hospital cafeteria.
Volunteer coordinator Susan Lynch's office is crowded with toys — wooden puzzles, trains, cars and blocks, craft kits, stuffed animals and soft dolls. There's even a doll meant to go into the bathtub with a child, to have the dirt washed off.
They've had a lot of fun ordering the toys, Lynch said, and they solicited the opinions of young parents on the hospital staff. The brand is Melissa and Doug, started 25 years ago as a home-based business to provide high quality toys at a moderate price.
The sale on Dec. 6 will be convenient, and there is plenty of stock available. Shoppers don't have to wait until then to fill their gift lists, however. With the gift shop closed during hospital construction, toys are available in Lynch's office, although not all the stock is visible at one time, because of space constraints.
When remodeling is completed, the line will be stocked in the gift shop.
More than 100 names are on the volunteer roster at PRMC and about 60 are active, Lynch said, donating a half-day once a month to twice a week.
Lynch encourages potential volunteers to shadow before making a commitment, to make sure the job will be a good fit. Volunteers serve in many roles in the hospital, and more will be needed once the gift shop reopens.
Scholarship applications will be available in January for high school seniors graduating in May or for anyone who wants to continue their education in health care.