Holidays from the Heart

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The Holidays from the Heart Program serves Children's Hospital Los Angeles families who are financially unable to provide for themselves and their children during the holiday season.

Having a chronically ill child has a tremendous impact emotionally and financially on the entire family. Holidays from the Heart acknowledges that burden by helping families have a holiday celebration that they will remember. Hospital social workers identify patient families who live in the same home and thus are impacted by caring for an ill child.

It is our goal to provide families with lasting memories and gifts that will improve their lives.

For questions about the program, please contact:

Rosalind Grushkin
4650 Sunset Blvd., MS #54
Los Angeles, CA 90027
rgrushkin@chla.usc.edu

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Gifts for Patient Families

Holidays from the Heart gift lists are personalized and developed based on specific individual and family needs.

We encourage sponsors to focus on purchasing gifts that increase families' autonomy by promoting literacy, activity, creativity, self-sufficiency and health. Great gift choices include tools that help with organization and time management, such as day planners, watches, pagers and pre-paid phone cards. Additional gift ideas include items that assist with specific trades or household tasks, such as sewing machines or tool kits.

Social workers survey families to determine their specific needs. We encourage sponsors to adopt an entire family so that they can meet all their needs.


Sponsor a Family

Holidays from the Heart offers different ways for sponsors to help families in need. We encourage sponsors to choose giving options that work best for their personal availability, time and resources.

To request a family to sponsor, please email rgrushkin@chla.usc.edu.

Please indicate the number of families you wish to sponsor, the size of families you wish to sponsor and any other special requests, such as location. Please also include your contact information, including email address and phone number.

The various methods for sponsorship are listed below.

Provide a Holiday for a Whole Family

  1. With this option, you will be assigned a family and given information for each member, including age, gender, sizes and wish lists.

  2. You will then shop for the whole family to fulfill their holiday needs.

  3. After purchasing gifts for the family, you will wrap and label the items in order to create a personal holiday look.

  4. Once you have purchased, wrapped and labeled your gifts, you will deliver them to Children's Hospital Los Angeles, where they will be stored at a special North Pole location until your family can pick up your generous delivery. If you prefer to give your gifts directly to your family, this can be arranged.

Sponsor a Holiday for a Family (No Wrapping)

If you love to shop but would rather not wrap your gifts, this is the option for you.

  1. Once you are assigned a family, you will be provided with information for each member, including age, gender, sizes and wish lists.

  2. You will then shop for the whole family to fulfill their holiday needs.

  3. When you have purchased and labeled your gifts, you will deliver them to Children's Hospital Los Angeles, where volunteers will wrarp them at a special North Pole location.

  4. Wrapped gifts will be stored at the North Pole until your recipient family can pick up your generous delivery.

Gifts in Kind Donations

Gifts in Kind are a crucial part of our program. We welcome gifts in bulk from individuals or corporate sponsors. Some of our most needed items include:

  • Bus tokens
  • Diapers
  • Grocery gift cards
  • Infant formula
  • Tennis shoes
  • Warm clothes

To make a gift in kind donation, please email rgrushkin@chla.usc.edu. Please include your contact information and a description of the items that you wish to donate.

Make a Donation

Want to help, hate to shop? You can contribute tremendously to the program by making a donation. Volunteer shoppers and wrappers will use your much-appreciated donation to create a special holiday for a Children's Hospital Los Angeles family. All donations are tax-deductible, and 100% of your contribution will go towards recipient families.

  • Click here to make an online donation. Note: In the "I would like my donation directed to" dropdown menu, please select "Other - please specify below", then type "Holidays from the Heart" in the form field to make sure your gift goes directly to the program.

  • You may also send a check made out to Children's Hospital Los Angeles (note Holidays from the Heart on the memo line). Please mail your donation to Rosalind Grushkin, Mail Stop #54, 4650 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90027.

Volunteer

Since we fulfill holiday wishes for over 300 families, we need all the help we can get! There are many volunteer opportunities for donors, as well as high school and college students who want to do something rewarding over winter break. Volunteer options are listed below:

  • Holiday Shoppers
    Holiday shoppers are needed to purchase gifts with donated funds. Shoppers will be given a budget and wish lists for family members. Then they can hit the shops to purchase special gifts for their designated family!

  • North Pole Volunteers
    The North Pole (otherwise known as Children's Hospital's Gift Distribution Center) needs plenty of volunteers to help things run smoothly. Responsibilities include wrapping, labeling, organizing, delivering gifts and answering phone inquiries. You can even sign up as a North Pole manager for a day!

  • Delivery Volunteers
    After gifts are wrapped and labeled, many of them need to be delivered to families who do not have transportation to pick them up. Delivery volunteers can look forward to seeing many thankful families as they distribute holiday gifts.

  • Clean-up Volunteers
    Volunteers who help us to clean up the North Pole are appreciated tremendously. In order to have a successful program, we need to leave the hospital as clean and orderly as it was before we arrived!

To sign up to volunteer, please email rgrushkin@chla.usc.edu. Please include your contact information, including phone number, and information about your availability.


Testimonials by Sponsors

"If you want to do something that will make a difference in people's lives and in your own life, then this is the program for you. I find the more I give, the more I get back." - Program Volunteer

"When you get the list of people in the family you are sponsoring, and you go out and shop for them, you get so invested in that family. You have your imagination about what the family is like and the joy that they are going to feel in receiving these items. You really feel like you carry this family around with you for how ever many weeks you are working on obtaining their items." - Program Director

"I think it is a unique program because it teaches children to think about another child. Not an imaginary child, but a real child with a name, an age, an address and a wish. And while we can't make the sick child well, we can do something." - Program Sponsor

"For the patients, this program brightens their day. It is tough to be sick and even tougher to be in the hospital all of the time. It makes them smile, not just because they are getting gifts for the holiday, but because they know that their family will be taken care of, too." - Volunteer/Sponsor

"One year when my daughters delivered gifts to a family, the father had an injured leg and was on a makeshift crutch, and I believe the child in this case was dying. As my girls were leaving, he stopped them and said, "Just one minute". He took a tablespoon and went to his backyard and dug up a rose bush and put it in a coffee can for them to take as a gift. We planted that rose bush in our front walk, and we pass it every day. It is a reminder to me of human goodness." - Program Sponsor

"I think that this program helps families tremendously. When you are in the hospital it costs a lot of money. Not just for the hospital bills, but feeding your family, and transportation and loss of work. When you have a child that is sick, it is hard to ask for things. It is great to know that people care, and that they will reach out to help."- Program Sponsor

"The Holidays from the Heart program is an unbelievable demonstration of the generosity and caring nature of people." - Program Volunteer


Program Background

Holidays from the Heart began in 1993 with the sponsorship of two families whose children were undergoing bone marrow transplants. Since then, the program has grown to include over 300 families (1,600 individuals). Patients from virtually all of the hospital's specialty and outreach programs are invited to participate in this special program.

A Special Sponsorship

This webpage is dedicated to the Zolla family for their incredible efforts and contributions to the program since its inception. Over the years, three generations of Zolla family members have worked to provide families in need with gifts for the holiday seasons.

In 2005, Ed Zolla helped sponsor over 50 families in our program. After Ed's passing, his family is continuing on with the tradition of touching the lives of so many. Holidays from the Heart would like to thank the Zollas for their tremendous contribution. Their passion and philanthropy embodies the very best of this wonderful program.