The Ellwood family began a toy drive after their daughter, Jasmine, was diagnosed with cancer. It became her goal to give back to the hospitals that helped her.
HERMISTON, Wash. — Law enforcement from all over the region are coming together to collect toys for the 4th Annual Toy Drive this weekend. Law enforcement will collect donations on Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at several Walmart stores in the area, listed below.
Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office Detective Mike Ellwood’s family began the toy drive after their daughter, Jasmine, was diagnosed with cancer.
When she was going through treatment, she spent many days and nights at children’s hospitals.
“We got a lot of help when we were going through this. So, a lot of people came together and our community came together and helped us a lot,” said Cindy Ellwood, Jasmine’s mom.
Because of that help, according to her parents, she decided to do the same for others experiencing what she and her family went through.
“During the process of all the treatments and stuff, we came across some really cool people at Walmart. Walmart transportation. When Jasmine was finished with all of her treatment, she wanted to do a toy drive, and this is where we’re at,” said Det. Mike Ellwood.
It’s the fourth year the toy drive is coming to the regional Walmart shopping centers.
“They’re walking out and they have a big basket full of toys that the little boys and girls are putting in for other little boys and girls that are in the hospital,” said Dan Lohnes, a driver for Walmart who has been a part of the project since the beginning. “It tugs at your heart. It really does, to see the generosity of our customers.”
Local law enforcement agencies are taking the reins for this toy drive.
“It’s great to be part of because you just see so many different agencies from not just Eastern Washington but also from Oregon all come together for such a great cause,” said Ramona Bolanos with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office. The FCSO is one of the many agencies taking part in it.
It’s grown from just a few Walmart stores, and just a few hospitals, to much more over the region and the two states.
“I couldn’t even begin to tell you how many we collected just at this one store. And just, every store did about the same. So it was pretty amazing,” said Det. Ellwood.
“We’re from a little town here, but holy smokes, the abundance of toys that they gave last year and the previous years is just amazing,” said Cindy Ellwood.
They take hundreds, and probably even thousands of toys donated, sort them, and get ready to bring them to families and children in Washington and Oregon children’s hospitals.
“Make no mistake about it. We would not be here if it wasn’t for the Ellwoods,” said Lohnes. “I always tease her, you know, Jasmine is the one that got us all together. And every year she brings more and more people together.”
And they’re not done. With the project growing bigger and bigger every year, they’re hoping to start a foundation in the future to help more people who are going through the same thing they did.
Walmart stores involved:
- Hermiston, OR
- Pendleton, OR
- Island City, OR
- College Place, WA
- Kennewick, WA
- Richland, WA
- Pasco, WA
- Yakima, WA
- Chehalis, WA
- Lacey, WA
- Spokane Valley, WA
Hospitals receiving toys:
- St. Anthony Hospital, Pendleton OR
- Good Shepherd Hospital, Hermiston OR
- Randall’s Children Hospital, Portland OR
- 2 Ronald McDonald Houses, Portland OR
- Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, Portland OR
- Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital, Seattle WA
- Seattle Children’s Hospital, Seattle WA
- Ronald McDonald House, Seattle WA
- Kadlec Pediatric Hospital, Richland WA
- Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital, Spokane WA
- Shriner’s Children’s Hospital, Spokane WA
- 2 Ronald McDonald Houses, Spokane WA
- Children’s Village Medical Clinic, Yakima WA
- Yakima Memorial Hospital Pediatric Unit, Yakima WA
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