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Donations Help Patients, Families During Holidays

MAHONING TOWNSHIP -- No one wants to spend Christmas in the hospital. It is especially wrenching when a child is stuck in a hospital bed.

For parents of sick children, Christmas presents become an afterthought. Luckily, there are generous volunteers who take care of that

Joe Nyanko of Hollidaysburg pulled up to the Ronald McDonald house near Danville with a trailer filled with donations. His children's school in Blair County organized the drive. It's fitting because Nyanko owns 16 McDonald's restaurants in central and western Pennsylvania.

"A lot of food, paper towels, things like that in there; it's a grab bag of stuff. Everything is off of their wish list," said Nyanko.

"Here's a tray of cookies. We thought the guests may like that," said director of development Ann Blugis. "People come in with boxes of toys. People come in with boxes of products for our care closet, for our pantry."

Donations come in all shapes and sizes. Nyanko's large amount of donations will go a long way and some "Scentsy Buddies" are meant to comfort children. The buddies were donated by Carol Seigfried of Berwick who was in the hospital when she was younger.

"I was kind of alone in the hospital because my parents had to work," Seigfried recalled.

The stuffed animals have a pouch where you can put a scent pack inside so they smell good.

"The kids love them. They take them everywhere they go. That way they have something with them," Seigfried said.

Many of those toy donations will be given out to the kids on Christmas morning.

"It's the true meaning of Christmas, I think," said Blugis. "It's not about presents. It's not about gifts. It's about giving back and just caring and helping others."

"It's a great time of year to be doing it," added Nyanko. "I get to play a little bit of Santa Claus today. It was fun."

The staff at the Ronald McDonald House says the donations all go to the kids, their families, and the operation of the house.