In November the Grayson Dunham Foundation launched its first winter event, The Apple Project, a toy drive that supported local families that have lost a child this year as well as children at Riley Children’s Hospital.
A look behind The Apple Project:
Many of you may know that Grayson loved calling himself "Apple". He had a stuffed bear that we first named "Pete", but he soon changed the name to Apple. He would often refer to himself as "Apple" if someone asked him his name. I clearly remember the week before Grayson got sick taking him to the park and a boy a few years older than Grayson said to him, "What's your name?" I said Grayson tell him your name and he replied, "Apple". "Apple" was a special bear to Grayson and we want to help other children find their special "Apple".
We were able to set boxes out at 13 locations across the area for three weeks as we collected new unwrapped toys. The response we got in return was unreal! I never imagined we would collect as many toys as we did. We collected around 1,090 toys!
We had lots of kids that participated and that was so exciting to see! Young children to high schoolers helped make this project a super successful event!
We had many families reach out to us this year who have endured the difficult loss of a child and we wanted to give back to those families in some way. Through monetary and physical donations of The Apple Project, we were able to provide smiles to 10 families. Most of the families still have young children at home and we were able to provide gifts to those children as well as a gift card for the family to enjoy a dinner together and a beautiful hand stamped bracelet with their child’s name.
Graysie was so excited to help mommy sort all of the toys! She was a trooper and was there every step of the way for this project. She spent countless hours int he car with me and I am so thankful we can teach her at a young age how great it is to give back.
The remaining 1,018 toys were taken down to Riley Children’s Hospital to be used throughout the year for children who will be spending their days, weeks and months in the hospital.
We had to borrow a trailer to take all of the toys to Riley! That speaks for itself!
We were greeted by PICU doctor, Dr. Lutfi and his office staff Cheryl and Melissa as well as the Riley Cheer Guild director, Ann Hannon. Our hearts are so full every time we visit Riley and have the opportunity to meet with the staff. They truly are amazing people.
We want to thank our friends and family who helped us prepare boxes, deliver and pickup toys, as well as all of those who donated in any way! The support we receive never goes unnoticed. We are incredibly thankful.