Cole’s Closet, a local organization that gives toys to hospitals, is used to large donations around Christmas time. It becomes extra special when Loudoun County Sheriff’s Officers – and Santa Clause – get to deliver them in person.
On Dec. 17, representatives from Cole’s Closet and LCSO delivered toys to children in the Pediatric Ward and Emergency Room at Inova Loudoun Hospital. In the past few weeks, the Sheriff’s Office collected more than 1,000 toys for Cole’s Closet – the single-largest donation in the 15-year history of the organization.
“I couldn’t believe when I showed up this morning and saw all the toys we had,” said Cole’s Closet Toy Director Chip Gilliland. “It was overwhelming.”
Cole’s Closet delivers toys to 11 local partner hospitals in memoriam of Cole Tomczyk, who passed away short of his first birthday. After their son’s passing, Steve and Ellen Tomczyk used their experiences with hospital pediatric wards as inspiration to create toy drives to help other ill children in their families. Starting with a few hundred toys on their first drive in 2001, Cole’s Closet now delivers thousands of toys annually.
Christmas time is still when most donations take place, and it was a natural fit for the Sheriff’s Office to partner with Cole’s Closet, said Aleksandra Kowalski of LCSO. Police officers gathered toys from stations across the county, and dressed in elf costumes and accompanied by Santa, hand-delivered the toys to the hospitalized children.
“To see this today is pretty cool,” Gilliland said. “They had a blast.”