An initiative that started with birthday present donations grew into a movement involving an entire school and became a toy distribution campaign reaching every hospital in Haifa.
Maayan Regev, just 12 years old, wanted to do something meaningful for all of the children in the city and succeeded in bringing many others along for the ride…
Last week, cars packed with presents, games and toys made their way through Haifa, making three stops: Rambam Health Care Campus, Carmel Medical Center, and Bnei Tzion Medical Center. Dozens of children were waiting at each hospital, all students of The Hebrew Reali School of Haifa, who came to help with the distribution of presents amongst pediatric patients as a part of this special program which has been coined "Small Gifts for Big Kids." The project's founder, twelve-year-old Maayan Regev from Haifa, decided to turn her birthday into an extraordinary event.
The project started last year when Maayan asked her parents for a different kind of birthday: she wanted to donate all of her gifts to the children being treated at the 'Ruth Rappaport Children's Hospital' at Rambam. Her parents, who were more than happy to take part in the initiative, designed Maayan's birthday invitation to reflect her wish, and turned to her friends with a request to purchase gifts and toys that would be appropriate for kids in the hospital as a way of donating to the community. The birthday girl's enterprise was adopted by her classmates at Reali, and with the help of their teacher and principal, Maayan's personal project became a group project, and the entire class joined in on the meaningful task.
This year, the project was upgraded when Maayan, her parents and the administration of Reali school decided to devote an entire day to the important cause to collect hundreds of toys and games as well as money earmarked for the purchase of additional toys for the gift rooms at the three hospitals in Haifa, and to distribute them amongst the pediatric patients there. "The response was overwhelming and emotional," recalls Sharon Regev, Maayan's mother, "All of us gave entirely from the heart. It was an extraordinary experience to be part of something like this."
"When I was little, I spent a lot of time in hospitals and that’s where I got the idea to donate presents to pediatric patients in honor on my birthday," said Maayan, "It's much more fun to give than to receive," she concluded with a smile..