National News

Hospital holds toy drive after warehouse fire destroys donations

Posted November 20, 2017 12:43 p.m. EST

— The St. Louis community gives back during a time of so much loss. Shiners Hospital hosted a toy drive Saturday to collect donations after thousands of toys were destroyed in a 5-alarm fire in a warehouse on Wednesday in South City.

The drive was held at the Moolah Shrine Center in West County from 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. and hundreds of cars lined up filled with donations. The Shriner volunteers also lined up to create an assembly line of toy donations. The volunteers unloaded bag after bag from people who simply wanted to help.

"We donated about $825 worth of toys and we also donated about 230, 3ft. tall stuffed bears," said Carol Hopfinger, who works at Footwear Unlimited in Fenton.

Her donation was an office effort

"Thursday morning I sent out an email and said 'hey we should try to do something,' and within 20 minutes I think I had $150 donated from all my wonderful coworkers," said Hopfinger.

"I got some nail polish and make up kits for the older girls, and then we got some legos and Nerf stuff. Nerf guns will be fun I think," said Brad and Angela Brown, who saw the fire on the news and wanted to help out in any way they could.

The toys destroyed in the fire were previous donations that the Shriner Hospital collects all year long to eventually give to kids at their hospital at Christmas time.

"To collect all those toys, to get it all organized, you know they've probably already been working on this for at least a year, and then for it to all be gone in a matter of minutes," said Hopfinger.

Donations came from long distances too. A Shriner chapter in Chicago came with a busload of toys and a monetary donation.

"They've collected over $2,700 in donations," said the Medinah Shriner representative.

Although the gesture to give felt small, it made a big difference to thousands of St. Louis children.

"We just wanted to do the little that we could to help out," said Brad Brown.

"I felt like we had to do something, even if it was just a little bit we had to do something," said Hopfinger.