East Student's Donation Drive Brings Joy To Sick Kids

East Student's Donation Drive Brings Joy To Sick Kids

Teddy Bear Drive

Johnny Wansink is an eleventh grade student at East High School, and he recently helped make the time hundreds of children spend at the hospital a little brighter.

Through the coordination of a donation drive he created, every patient at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children received a stuffed animal over the holidays.

“Johnny’s Teddy Bear Drive” was established following an experience Wansink had while in the hospital. “I had surgery on my kidney when I was seven years old, and after my surgery I received a teddy bear,” said Wansink. “It made me feel better, and I wanted other children to have that experience.”

Now in its seventh year, the collection kicked off on Thanksgiving and donations were made through December 23. Schools within the West Chester Area School District participated in the donation drive, as did numerous local businesses and organizations.

In its first year, Wansink collected 98 stuffed animals – this year, the drive yielded the most donations ever: 1,534 stuffed animals. Where did Wansink keep all of these stuffed animals before they were delivered to the hospital? They took over an entire room inside his house (see photo above).

On Christmas Eve, Johnny and his helpers emptied the room, loaded all of the donated stuffed animals into a 50-foot motor home, and took off on their journey to the hospital for their very special delivery.

Wansink is grateful for the support he’s received from his friends, family, and the community over the years, and is already making plans for next year’s drive – where he hopes to increase the number of donations even more.

“For seven years now, I’ve been giving back to the hospital that gave so much to me,” said Wansink. “I hope the stuffed animals make the patients happy, and also inspire kids to give back within their community, too.”

To learn more about Johnny’s Teddy Bear Drive, click here.

For more information, please contact Ms. Tracey Dukert, Digital Communications Coordinator, West Chester Area School District at 484-266-1170 or tdukert@wcasd.net.