NEW ORLEANS – It’s probably safe to say that the hospital is the last place a kid wants to be during the holidays. This year, patients at Children’s Hospital can get special gifts from the zoo and its guests.
“They came to us this year and asked how they could help,” said Rene Guilbeau of Children’s Hospital. “We want to do more for the kids at the hospital.”
People are being encouraged to buy from a selection of three toys that are available at the gift shop. All of the purchases will go to the boys and girls at the hospital.
“We look at the things we normally carry in our gift shop and we just thought so many of these would be great for them,” said Lani McWilliams of the Audubon Institute. “Rene’s expertise let us know that they need things that can calm them. They need things that are sensory-friendly, so these are specifically chosen items that would be best for the kids.”
Each of the gift packages are different. One is a coloring set. Another has puzzles and the third is a fiber optic lamp. Each gift has a special seasonal name too.
“We’ve called them hope, joy and love because you aren’t actually buying fiber optic lamps or puzzles, you are buying hope, joy and love to provide them with,” said McWilliams.
And the cheer doesn’t end with the toys.
“Whether they are decorating gingerbread houses, or making ornaments, they are still doing the typical things that children and families should be doing through the holidays, even though they are in a hospital environment,” said Guilbeau.
Audubon’s Zoo Lights run on select nights until Dec. 30. To purchase one of the toys, you don’t need a ticket. The gift shop is open to everyone, every day except Monday.