Freedman Seating has a long history of collecting toys, clothing, personal care items and food for local charities and nonprofits. Beneficiaries include the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, Greater Chicago Food Depository, Sarah’s Circle, local shelters and places of worship.
This year, in an ongoing effort to keep people moving, responding, and delivering hope, Team Freedman chose Shriners Hospitals for Children®, 2211 N Oak Park Ave, Chicago, IL, to receive items from the employee-driven Holiday Toy Drive. Located just four miles from Freedman Seating, Shriners is changing lives every day through innovative pediatric specialty care, research and outstanding medical education. The Chicago Shriners Hospital focuses on a wide range of pediatric orthopedic conditions, including rare diseases and syndromes. Shriners also provides expertise in rehabilitation/spinal cord injury and cleft lip and palate care. All services are provided in a family-centered environment, regardless of the families’ ability to pay.
“It was important for us to work with Shriners not just because of their proximity to Freedman, but it turns out a number of our employees have been touched by the meaningful work and support they provide.” said John-Paul Paonessa, Marketing Manager.
Shelly Hernandez, Purchasing Manager at Freedman Seating, took the opportunity to share her daughter Josslen’s journey being diagnosed and treated for Klippel-Feil Syndrome. KFS is a rare skeletal disorder primarily characterized by abnormal union or fusion of two or more bones of the spinal column (vertebrae) within the neck (cervical vertebrae). Read Josslen’s Journey.
“KFS does not define Josslen. It is only a part of her perfectly imperfect journey.” -Shelly Hernandez
In just two weeks, nearly 200 toys and educational supplies were collected by Freedman employees and suppliers. A special thanks to American Excelsior, Cicero Manufacturing & Supply Company, and Garvey’s Office Products for donating.
“We are so grateful for your generosity and thoughtfulness,” wrote Mary McCauley, Donations Coordinator for Shriners, in a letter of appreciation. No child comes in that does not take a gift out.”
Items collected will be used not only for Holiday gifts and care packages, but for activities such as small motor skill development and distraction, as well as birthday gifts for kids who have surgery or appointments on their birthday.
“I am overwhelmed by the generosity of donating gifts and responses received in regards to Josslen’s Journey from everyone at Freedman and our suppliers alike,” adds Hernandez. “In a year unlike any other, the uncertainty of it all, it confirms the world is full of kindness, good and most of all, hope for a brighter tomorrow.”