There have been many times in my life where I’ve been fortunate to be part of something awesome and amazing. While “paying it forward” should be innate, there are moments when being part of a bigger initiative certainly helps spark the drive and provide momentum to do something fulfilling and rewarding. So thank you Toyota for making it possible for my family to give back to a very deserving community, Shriners Hospital for Children in Boston.
For 3 months, Toyota provided my family with a Sienna minivan to drive as part of the #SiennaDiaries, while we chronicled our adventures in blog posts and throughout photos on social media. As part of the #SiennaDiaries campaign, while we received a stipend to utilize toward our adventures, Toyota provided $100 in order to use the vehicle in a charity project of our choice.
Being the ToyQueen, I am fortunate throughout the year to be the recipient of a lot of toys, far more than we could ever use. Sometimes there are samples I receive that I don’t utilize for a product review, while other times when we head to Toy Fair companies are gracious enough to send us home with bags full of new toys and games. If my husband attends with me, that often means doubles. Throughout the years we’ve been perfecting our donation strategy of providing gently used items to schools, daycares and the WIC office waiting area in our city, but every few years we compile the new toys and like to do one large donation.
Using Toyota’s $100, spending about $100 of our own money, while including many of the new items I’ve received from events in the past few months, in a span of 24 hours I was able to compile a donation of items with a retail value over $1200 that Gavin and I personally delivered to Shriners Hospitals for Children in Boston, MA using the Sienna minivan.
Living in Boston and as medical healthcare provider myself, we are fortunate to have many hospitals that people from all over the world visit in times of need related to their children’s medical health and special care circumstances. As an occupational therapist, I’ve always been amazed at the type of quality healthcare Shriners provides to their families. In Boston, Shriners specializes in orthopedic disabilities, burn care, as well as cleft lip and palate reconstruction and repair. Their model of care is truly inspirational and a standard I wish was every hospital was capable of emulating. When I tell you that they do everything they can, big and small, to help their families so that medical tragedies do not become a major source of financial frustration and hardship, I am not exaggerating.
Using Shriner’s wish list as a guide plus a few surprises of my own, I was able to fill up the trunk of the Sienna and couldn’t wait to deliver them all of these fantastic toys. More importantly including Gavin in the process was such a valuable lesson. You can talk about kindness, generosity and the importance of giving back to our community, but actions always speak louder than words.
I hope this inspires you to do something to pay it forward and lend a hand to your community. While it doesn’t necessarily need to involve money, something as simple as offering up your time and the space in your vehicle for a ride or a delivery can make all the difference to someone in need.
Disclosure: For 3 months, Toyota provided my family with a Sienna minivan to drive, while we chronicled our adventures in blog posts and throughout photos on social media. As part of the #SiennaDiaries campaign, while we received a stipend to utilize toward our adventures, Toyota provided $100 in order to use the vehicle in a charity project of our choice.