The COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult for everyone—especially groups who already suffer from isolation. When the loneliness of quarantine overshadowed the holidays for a children’s ward, Random Acts Staff Writer Karyl Anne Fischer found a way to deliver hope for brighter days ahead.

The Kids of Peace Hospital

assortment of children's gifts

Stuffed animals, action figures, and craft supplies were the most requested gifts for the children.

Karyl Anne was formerly a mental health tech with UofL Peace Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky, serving kids 3-12 years old with developmental challenges such as autism and traumatic brain injury. Though she left for a full-time teaching job in 2019, Karyl Anne proclaims, “The kids and staff there still have a permanent place in my heart.”

During her time at Peace Hospital, Karyl Anne noticed a disparity in holiday giving. The UofL children’s hospital always received plenty of donations around the holidays, as did local children’s homes. Peace Hospital, however, never seemed to fare as well. Karyl Anne was sorry that “our kiddos always felt overlooked.”

Karyl Anne approached her former colleague, Nurse Manager Jesse Adams, to find a solution. Together they developed a list of toys that had been requested by the unit’s children or were already among their favorites. Craft supplies ranked high on the list, as did the usual action figures and sensory toys. Karyl Anne claims that superheroes were the hardest to find on the shelves!

Karyl Anne was sorry that she could not personally deliver the gifts because of safety and privacy restrictions. However, Jesse was happy to share that the project was a huge success. The children began Christmas Day with a breakfast treat of donuts and milk. This was followed by a schedule full of holiday activities and plenty of unwrapping.

Simple Gifts

UofL Peace Hospital

UofL Peace Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky

Beyond the fun and holiday cheer, the gifts served a more important purpose. “Our staff are working extra hard to keep our kids busy and on task with different things,” explains Jesse. “The items requested were very important to the unit.”

During the pandemic, life has been disrupted in so many ways for so many people. The children of the 3E unit could no longer have vital in-person experiences such as visits from friends and family or sessions with their teachers. Perhaps one of the greatest gifts the children received from Karyl Anne was the knowledge that they were not alone and that people they might never meet cared about them.

That also goes for Karyl Anne. She shared that 2020 was overwhelming for her, as it was for many others. This small act was a gift that helped her feel better. “And, really, that’s the beauty of the holiday season anyway,” says Karyl Anne, “to be able to find a way to make someone happy.”

Local Acts Add Up to Global Kindness

Do you have an idea for an act of kindness in your own community? Random Acts can help with that! Contact your local Random Acts Regional Representative for information on sponsored acts or any other help you need to turn your idea into a reality.