Friday, February 23, 2018

United Kingdom (April 2015)

After months of planning, fundraising, sorting and ocean freight shipping for our UK delivery of Michael’s Dream Boxes, we have finally dispersed the toys to various organizations in England. As with any new project we never fully know what bumps in the road may lie ahead. Our friend and supporter, Rob Swinson, stepped forward and contributed over half the funds needed to fulfill this project. Without his help we would have had to cut back on the number of toys we were able to give to the children, but….

We made it!  The toys were packed into 12 large boxes and loaded onto a semi-truck on October 24, 2014, weighing approximately 500 pounds. They were then taken to a dock in New Jersey awaiting a shipment date. They did not fly to England, but instead sailed to Amsterdam and then went through a random customs inspection (which we had to pay extra for) and finally in March 2015 they arrived at Louise Greer’s sister’s house in Bristol, England. The house is an English cottage with pretty small rooms so, you can probably imagine, 12 boxes containing 500 pounds worth of toys and games stacked in Louise’s room was a little overwhelming! She spent the next few days sorting through the toys, making up the boxes for each age group and dividing the rest of the toys destined for other organizations.

We are extremely pleased to announce that we were able to find three places in need that we could give toys to in Michael’s memory:




Martha Care

A charity that aids in the needs of families with children in hospital. So many times the families struggle to cope and pay bills because of taking time off from work, as well as paying for food and lodging while away from home, and staying mentally healthy.  Sometimes the siblings of a child patient go through enormous mental displacement because they are having to endure so much that is not always easy for them to comprehend.  Martha Care visits these families and children in the hospitals and aids in whatever they can.

Along with the Dream Boxes we promised them, we were also able to give them several additional boxes of surplus toys to extend their giving needs. We understand that they are being given out already to the new patients each week and some of the remaining toys will be given out at a picnic later this year which celebrates their past patients. We have been promised pictures from that event which we will share with you here as soon as we receive them! 





Action for Children

A vital lifeline to thousands of children that are in foster care and other institutions. A child’s mental health is particularly important as this will help shape the child’s future whilst they are growing. Sadly some of these children were physically and mentally abused and abandoned and are in need of extra special care.

Many people can relate to not having new toys or clothes due to the fact they were a foster child because the stigma never quite leaves you. Our own Louise Greer knows this first hand because it happened to her. This organization was made fully aware of how much this meant to Michael and all of our supporters, and how much it personally meant to Louise and with this understanding they have been making sure that all the children they can possibly give to have received a new toy. Because of the laws in the UK it is forbidden to take photos of the children but we have received a thank you letter and a few pictures of the staff at Action for Children displaying some of the toys in their office. 



Charlton Farm Children's Hospice


An organization that makes the most of short and precious lives. The care they offer is not simply about medical and nursing care for sick children, but about enriching the lives of children with life-limiting or life-threatening illnesses, and their families.  

We are very happy that we were able to deliver several boxes of toys to Charlton Farm. This was a most difficult delivery, emotionally, as you know the children are there because it is the end of life care. As much sadness as we feel when faced with this truth, the families and patients have to process all of this, and so much more. Louise explains her experience while making the delivery; “I can only say that it is a beautiful place. Peaceful but happy. Dignified but playful.”

We are so happy that the children there will receive the toys you helped us provide, and know that Michael had something to do with it. You donated with love, the toys were given with love and we are sure they were received with love.  The administration at this loving home has sent several pictures of the hospice and a heartfelt thank you to you all.