DETROIT — Thanks to Meijer, 10 children involved in the Make-A-Wish program will be having a far merrier Christmas than before.
Meijer donated 10 gift baskets to Make-A-Wish Michigan to deliver to kids suffering from debilitating diseases. Make-A-Wish, which helps fund the wishes of the children, such as visiting a theme park or going to the Super Bowl, accepted the baskets and helped Meijer distribute them to the children Nov. 28.
“It was so fun to see how excited the kids got,” said Christy Schulte, communications and public relations manager for Make-A-Wish Michigan. “Our whole mission is to bring hope, strength and joy to kids who are going through hard times, and we know what kind of difference having a wish come true can make.”
The toy baskets were filled with different types of toys depending on the child. They could be filled with sets of toys including Barbie dolls, Disney characters or Legos. Schulte said donations of this sort help Make-A-Wish accomplish its mission of helping families make it through difficult times.
“We have partnered with Meijer for more than 20 years. They approached us offering to deliver some gift bags to wish kids,” said Schulte. “We reached out to our volunteers and told them which types of bags we had, and the volunteers gave us their recommendations of our 3- to 5-year-old kids they work with who would like these types of gifts Meijer was offering. We do not receive any state or federal funding, so organizations like Meijer are a huge part of giving us what we need to keep making wishes come true.”
Meijer representatives helped distribute the baskets.
“Meijer was built on supporting communities, so we work with some tremendous partners. Make-A-Wish is an amazing organization that helps so many kids,” said Christina Fecher, public relations manager for Meijer. “We wanted to make the season a little brighter for some special kids. We try to help throughout the year, but when you have some extra toys around the holidays, we thought it was a good opportunity to extend that attitude of giving.”
Among the recipients of the toy baskets was Aubrey Grier, a 5-year-old who lives in Detroit and suffers from a debilitating cardiac condition. Last February, Make-A-Wish Michigan helped Aubrey and her family go on a five-day trip to Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Aubrey also received a basket of Barbie-related toys.
“It was fun. We went on a lot of rides,” said Aubrey. “I saw Princess Sophia, Mickey Mouse and Doc McStuffin. I even met Elsa, and I was her for Halloween.”
Aubrey’s mother, Quanesha Grier, said the trip made a huge difference to Aubrey and the basket will help the family through the continuous challenge of her health problems.
“I was told about Make-A-Wish from another parent we met at the children’s hospital, and I applied,” said Quanesha. “About four months later, Aubrey made her wish to go to Disney World for her fifth birthday. This means a lot to me. After the hard times we’ve been going through, it’s so nice to get some help and to see Aubrey smile. Thank you to Make-A-Wish and thank you to Meijers for all of this.”
Also given a basket was 5-year-old Mackenzie Adams, who also lives in Detroit and suffers from severe health issues and will be receiving a trip to Disney World in 2017. She received a Meijer gift bag of Disney princess toys.
Mackenzie’s mother, Donielle January, said a gift like this can make all the difference to a child who has to suffer through frequent medical treatments.
“Mackenzie being sick has been pretty difficult, because it means a lot of hospital stays and missing a lot of school. I have to miss a lot of work. Last year she missed her school’s Christmas program, so hopefully she’ll have a better time this year,” she said. “Mackenzie has to sit down and be hooked up to a machine every night, and these toys will give Mackenzie something to do while she’s doing that.”