Shorefront Toys for Tots gives back to Coney Island Hospital’s pediatric patients, staff

August 27, 2020 Jaime DeJesus
Shorefront Toys for Tots gives back to Coney Island Hospital’s pediatric patients, staff
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They’re spreading cheer before the holidays.

The Shorefront Toys for Tots organization made a visit to pediatric patients at NYC Health + Hospitals/Coney Island, also known as Coney Island Hospital, to surprise the children with toys as well as to provide breakfast to the pediatric staff.

The surprise event, held on Tuesday, Aug. 11, more 100 toys were distributed to kids. For Brian Gotlieb, the founder of the organization, the day meant a lot.

“Since COVID-19 began, many different groups throughout our community, the city and beyond have delivered food and other thank-you gifts to different health care providers, and it’s above and beyond what they deserve,” he said. “We’re a children’s organization and we wanted to do something to help honor and give thanks to the health care workers … so we decided to focus on the men and women of the Pediatrics Department. We brought a whole spread for them and shared breakfast with them.”

Shorefront Toys for Tots has been at Coney Island Hospital’s pediatric unit every year since the organization started 25 years ago and has had a longtime relationship with the hospital. Events have been coordinated with Dr. Warren Seigel, the director of the Pediatrics Unit.

“We’ve been talking about this since June. and the timing of everything was based on [Dr. Seigel’s] guidance,” Gotlieb said. “He wanted to make sure there were kids coming back from the hospital and that there was a population to be served because at that time, everything was adults and COVID-related as opposed to children coming out of the hospitals.”

He added, “Children are one of the most adversely affected groups I can think of because there is so much going on that’s out of their control, and this only heightens the fear and the problems they’re going through that would be difficult under normal circumstances. This is something special to help remind them that there’s’ someone in the community who cares.”

He also discussed the importance of giving back to the staff.

“I know that no matter what department anyone was affiliated with in terms of the hospital, it was all-hands-on-deck in terms of the pandemic … but we wanted to focus on the Pediatric Unit.”

Assemblymember Bill Colton; State Sen. Diane Savino; Ari Kagan, director of district operations for Councilmember Mark Treyger; and a representative of U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries were also a part of the distribution.

“It is a great opportunity to make others feel good by giving them not only toys, but toys obtained through the generosity of others,” said Colton.

“I was delighted to participate in the Shorefront Toys for Tots giveaway to kids in the Pediatrics Unit of Coney Island Hospital,” added Kagan. “In these difficult times, it was great to see happy children when they received beautiful toys.”

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