Do you want to make this holiday season extra special for a child in need? The Sassy Massey Smiles Foundation needs your help–and your toy donations–in order to bring smiles to the faces of sick children in the community this holiday season.
The foundation, which is based in Coopersburg, is looking for donations for its annual holiday toy drive. The donations will be delivered to 18 hospitals in our area.
You can contribute by dropping off children’s toys, electronics, gift cards and monetary contributions at any of the toy drive’s local donation stations.
Local businesses participating in the donation collection effort include: Neighbors Home and Garden Center in Hellertown, Alvarez Orthodontics and Swim-n-Zone in Center Valley, Connell Funeral Home in Bethlehem and Parkettes Gymnastics in Allentown.
The foundation prefers donations of toys made by popular brands like Fisher Price, Little Tykes, Crayola or LeapFrog. Recommended gifts for older kids include headphones, playing cards, board games, gift cards, video game consoles or games for PS4, XBOX One or Nintendo Switch (no rated “M” games).
The full list of participating businesses and acceptable donations can be found on the Sassy Massey Toy Drive Facebook page.
The organization also has an Amazon Wish List set up, which can be accessed from the Sassy Massey website. Donors can use the wish list to purchase specific gifts to be sent directly to the foundation’s warehouse for holiday delivery.
The final date to donate for the Lehigh Valley holiday delivery is Monday, Dec. 16.
Toy donations will benefit pediatric units at local hospitals such as St. Luke’s Anderson Campus, St. Luke’s Pediatrics in Bethlehem and Lehigh Valley Health Network as well as Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Ronald McDonald House, Grand View Hospital and many more throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
The Sassy Massey Smiles Foundation was started in honor of Jillian Massey. Two weeks after Jillian’s fourth birthday, the Massey family received the tragic news that Jillian had been diagnosed with medulloblastoma, an aggressive form of brain and spine cancer.
Jillian, who loved gymnastics, immediately underwent treatment at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where her carefree outlook on life quickly won her many friends.
Jillian helped start the Sassy Massey Toy Drive in October 2016 with the goal of collecting 50 to 100 toys to deliver to her new friends at CHOP. The community support for the toy drive was nothing short of miraculous, and by December Jillian had more than 3,000 gifts to deliver to friends.
However, Jillian’s selfless ambition wasn’t satisfied, and the following Christmas she set a goal of donating 10,000 toys to sick children.
On Dec. 4, 2017, five-year-old Jillian lost her battle with cancer, a disease she had bravely fought for 20 months.
The young hero would not be there to deliver gifts to her friends during the second annual toy drive, but by then news of Jillian’s donation goal had spread far and wide. As a result more than 24,000 gifts came pouring in to the Sassy Massey Toy Drive warehouse.
That overwhelming support made it clear to Jillian’s parents that their daughter’s wish needed to be carried on, and the Sassy Massey Smiles Foundation was created.
The foundation’s mission is to “spread Jillian’s kindness by delivering miles of smiles to sick children,” and today it does that all year-round.
Janelle Massey, Jillian’s mother, stressed that it is important to operate the foundation year-round because hospitals are in need year-round.
Although this year’s holiday delivery deadline is Dec. 16, toys, sponsorship and donations are accepted and provided to hospitals throughout the year.
So far in 2019, the foundation has donated more than 12,000 toys. It is currently on pace to deliver an additional 20,000 to 25,000 toys this holiday season. That is an achievement that would certainly make Jillian smile.