Last month, my world was rocked by my friend's 6 year old's diagnosis of Neuroblastoma. I had just seen him 2 weeks before and he seemed to be a normal healthy child. He had just started chemo-therapy at Millers Children's Hospital and I was heart-broken for his family.
Explaining to my own 6 year old what had happened to her friend, that he was extremely sick and would be living in the hospital for weeks at a time was hard. I had hoped to never have to have this type of talk with my children and I looked around and everyone is effected in some way by cancer.
Both of my children are in Scouts and by chance, my daughter's Daisy leader brought up a project that would help our children understand what kids in the hospital go through to live a healthy life.
Have you ever heard of the Jared Box Project?
The goal of the Jared Box Project is to lift the spirits of children in the hospital. The boxes symbolize the importance of play and are filled with well wishes, hope, and love. Over 200,000 Jared Boxes have been delivered across the United States.
How Does It Work?
A Jared Box is a plastic storage box filled with small gifts, toys, games and fun activities. Each box contains items selected for a specific age and gender. The boxes are delivered to hospitals. Jared Boxes provide a special diversion for young patients in emergency rooms, patient rooms, surgical centers, clinics and as they receive chemotherapy and other medical treatments. Jared Boxes bring smiles and laughter and lift the spirit of children in the hospital.
Our kids were excited! They had a lot of questions of why the children were in the hospital, how long they would be there, what age children would the boxes go to.
We contacted our local hospital which happened to be the same hospital that my friends son was in, Millers Children's Hospital. After getting the okay, we challenged the girls. Could this group of 12 6 year olds(and their parents) put together 40 Jared Boxes for the kids to be delivered the next month?
It was a resounding YES!
At each meeting, we would gather plastic shoe boxes(found at Dollar Tree) and small items to put inside. We wanted to make the boxes for all ages and for both boys and girls. From Newborn to Teens, we hand-made cards and stuffed the boxes with fun items to raise a smile.
The day came to deliver the boxes and get a final count. The girls went above and beyond! 56 boxes!
While we were not able to hand deliver the boxes to the sick children themselves, the girls were allowed to enter the Millers Children's Hospital Lobby where they were able to see the Sibling Center where the siblings had an area to forget the worries of their sick loved ones. We watched the boxes enter the elevator to be delivered with smiles all around.
I could see the look of accomplishments on our girls faces, knowing that they did their own small part to help out children just like themselves.
The Jared Box Project is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. All donations are tax-deductible.
The Jared Box project was started in 2001 by the children at Our Lady of Victory School in State College, Pennsylvania to honor their classmate and friend, Jared. He was a brave little boy who battled cancer with courage and faith that continues to inspire us all.