TEMPLE, Texas – Allison Dickson has organized, for the past four years, a holiday toy drive for the kids in McLane Children’s Medical Center.

This year, due to COVID-19 restrictions, Allison asked the community if they could donate money to purchase a game cart for the teenagers.

“When I realized we met the goal, I cried, you know? It was a bit embarrassing to say, but it was a moment of gratefulness and relief, and just being touched,” says Dickson.

The goal was to raise $6,000 to purchase a game cart the teenage patients could use.

“So they love the game cart. Anytime we wheel it into a patient room, we automatically get huge smiles both from the patients and from the family,” says Child Life Specialist Elizabeth Bender.

The game cart helps patients focus on something other than why they are there, and keeps them entertained during their hospital visit.

“Not only is it providing that kind of distraction and something fun to do, it’s also a great way for them to have social interaction with some of us, and have some of those conversations while doing something normal like playing a video game,” says Bender.

Allison raised almost $16,000. She raised enough money that there is additional funds for the Child Life Department to purchase toys for the kids. Allison says this all wouldn’t be able to happen without the help of the community.

“People really just came together and saw the need, understood the need, and made it happen,” Dickson.