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Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers holding 6th annual toy drive

Jocelynn Brown
The Detroit News

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers (MDCD) have come together once again for their sixth annual toy drive to will benefit the Bottomless Toy Chest. It's a "Chevy Detroit tradition" that began in 2015. 

Thirty eight local Chevrolet dealerships will collect new toys to make this holiday season memorable for hospitalized children and their families during this unprecedented time. Their goal is to collect truckloads of new toys Sunday through Dec. 16.

The Bottomless Toy Chest is a nonprofit "devoted to delivering empowering toys, craft projects, and interactive activities to hospitalized pediatric oncology patients," its website said.

Although the pandemic has caused organizers to make adjustments to the traditional fanfare surrounding this year's Season of Giving campaign, enthusiasm for collecting donations remain intact, said John Fox, president of Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers Local Marketing Association, in a press release. 

"This year, supporting the Bottomless Toy Chest will mean more than ever," said Fox in the press release. "While COVID-19 has changed the way most of us live and work, it has not changed the fact that toys bring hospitalized children joy, distraction from disease, and a sense of normalcy. Like many non-profits, the Bottomless Toy Chest has experienced challenges in raising funds and receiving donations this year. Regardless of the pandemic, our dealers are united in making this holiday season special for children and their families."

Children being treated for cancer and other serious illnesses at Children's Hospital of Michigan receive holiday gifts from The Bottomless Toy Chest as part of the Tons of Toys event in the hematology, oncology, sickle cell and bone marrow transplant department,  December 2017.

Mickey Guisewite, executive director of the Bottomless Toy Chest, said in the press release "We aren't just a holiday program; we deliver toys year-round. The amazing effort by the Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers has enabled us to expand our mission to not only serve kids with cancer and other serious illnesses, but also start a program to give a toy to every single child in the hospital — individually wrapped in cellophane to protect patients’ low immune systems. While we’ve had to cancel all of our in-person toy deliveries and hospital events this year, we are still making sure the toys get into the hands of the children who need them most.”

Guisewite noted in the press release that the organization has pivoted to:

• Dropping off truckloads of toys to hospitals—and turning delivery over to hospital personnel who distribute toys to the patients

• Sending special care packages to the homes of individual patients

• (And) distributing toys to other local organizations who work with families affected by the pandemic, such as Downtown Detroit Boxing Gym, HAVEN, Grace Centers of Hope, and others.

Guisewite founded the Bottomless Toy Chest after her son was treated for leukemia at age 12. The organization makes routine deliveries to hospitals 52 weeks a year, delivering more than 30,000 toys to 11 hospitals in Southeast Michigan.

For more information on MDCD Season of Giving Toy Drive, and drop-off locations, visit chevydetroit.com/seasonofgiving where you'll find a "Wish List" of toys.