Freedman Cares – Holiday Toy Drive for Shriners Children’s Hospital

Freedman Seating has a long history of collecting toys, clothing, personal care items and food for local charities and nonprofits. Beneficiaries include the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, Greater Chicago Food Depository, Sarah’s Circle, local shelters and places of worship.

In what has turned into an annual tradition, Team Freedman once again selected Shriners Hospitals for Children®, 2211 N Oak Park Ave, Chicago, IL, to receive items from the employee-driven Holiday Toy Drive. Located just four miles from Freedman Seating, Shriners is changing lives every day through innovative pediatric specialty care, research and outstanding medical education. The Chicago Shriners Hospital focuses on a wide range of pediatric orthopedic conditions, including rare diseases and syndromes. Shriners also provides expertise in rehabilitation/spinal cord injury and cleft lip and palate care. All services are provided in a family-centered environment, regardless of the families’ ability to pay.

“Donating to Shriners is a great opportunity for our team to share within the community and particularly families like ours,” said John-Paul Paonessa, Marketing Manager. “We especially enjoy working with Shriners because it turns out a number of our employees’ families have been personally supported by the meaningful work they provide.”

Last year, Shelly Hernandez, Purchasing Manager at Freedman Seating, shared her daughter Josslen’s journey being diagnosed and treated for Klippel-Feil Syndrome. KFS is a rare skeletal disorder primarily characterized by abnormal union or fusion of two or more bones of the spinal column (vertebrae) within the neck (cervical vertebrae). Read Josslen’s Journey.

“KFS does not define Josslen. It is only a part of her perfectly imperfect journey. We love Shriners and I’m so happy our team at Freedman came give back in this way.” -Shelly Hernandez

In just two weeks, over 215 toys and educational supplies were collected by Freedman employees and suppliers. A special thanks to all of the Freedman employees, American Excelsior and Cicero Manufacturing & Supply Company for donating.

“We are so grateful for your generosity and thoughtfulness,” wrote Mary McCauley, Donations Coordinator for Shriners, in a letter of appreciation. No child comes in that does not take a gift out.”

Items collected will be used not only for Holiday gifts and care packages, but for activities such as small motor skill development and distraction, as well as birthday gifts for kids who have surgery or appointments on their birthday.

Make your gift today to help Shriners Hospitals for Children provide life-changing care to our children who need your help.

Read about past FreedmanCares initiatives.

Josh Smith-Cohen, Shelly Hernandez, and John-Paul Paonessa deliver toys to Shriners Hospital Chicago.
Josh Smith-Cohen, Shelly Hernandez, and John-Paul Paonessa deliver toys to Shriners Hospital Chicago.

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