By Brock Ostavitz
Three years ago my then, three year old son, Henry, asked me why we didn’t put up Christmas Lights. I am one to NEVER let my kids down. So I said if I’m going to put up lights, I want to light the world ONE light at a time. One strand of lights became two, which became ten, which became over 12,000 lights, 18 inflatables, and a music show! This year I realized I couldn’t light up the world anymore because I had no where else to put lights. In my mind, I had to do something.
At work one day, I looked in the toy collection boxes and saw ZERO toys in these boxes. (I’m an Area Supervisor over multiple Holowicki McDonald’s restaurants). I had to do something. I couldn’t put a finger on it. Then a family next to me came in, started talking about being at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and how great staying at the Ronald McDonald House was and how much it’s made their lives easier. In my mind, it clicked! There are so many sick kids this year that won’t have a Christmas that many kids look forward to. So many families that won’t be able to buy their kids gifts because they are worried if their child will even make it.
My heart dropped. I teared up. Then posted in the Facebook Marysville group about different options of donations. We created a poll, and deep down I wanted to create this toy drive. So then it began. We decided to call it The Marysville Donation Drive on Derby DriveI posted it. Thinking in my head that we’ve tried donations last year and it didn’t work out. It never got off the ground.
Later that night, I walk out on the porch to bring the speaker in from the music show and to my surprise, there were three toys. Three toys and a little bit of hope. I posted for Marysville to step up and deliver. There were sick kids out there that needed us. There were helpless parents out there that needed that last hope to keep going. So I continued to challenge Marysville. A one hundred toy goal turned into two hundred. Two hundred turned into filling the room! We expanded the call for toys to include donations of household items needed by the Ronald McDonald House.
I heard a story from a parent one night that their child stayed at Children’s for 17 months. 9 years old. He didn’t make it. At that point I knew I wasn’t finished. I didn’t sleep. So I sat there on Sunday and researched. There are 673 pediatric beds in Nationwide Children’s Hospital. I knew there was more we could do! So I pushed Marysville more. Marysville delivered! Cars flowing in with trunk full of toys. Bags on bags in their hands. It was amazing. Many times I broke down. Not once. Not twice. Many! In realization that I had collected 3 toys to start to now…we can’t take toys out of the boxes or bags because there is no room. (No complaints at all).
I thank each person that donated from the bottom of my heart. Over ten days, we have impacted so many kids, so many families in so many ways. You didn’t just impact those kids. You’ve impacted your own. You taught our kids what it means to give back. We’ve taught our kids why it’s important. We’ve shined light on a dark world and truly brought back the Christmas Spirit! Marysville has shown hope that has made me proud to be a part of a community that my kids can grow up in and be an inspiration for years to come.
This is the best part. When we started, I told my wife that it was my hope that we would have so many toys we would have to rent a U-HAUL truck to bring the toys down to the Ronald McDonald House. WE HAVE REACHED THAT POINT!
Thank you Marysville for shining the light and bringing so much positivity to our community. I cannot thank you enough!
You have helped me make a hope come true. You’ve inspired me more than you could imagine. You’ve made me have a passion for something I would have never thought about before. To hear the stories of SO many people impacted by the Ronald McDonald House and Nationwide Children’s Hospital. I’m blessed to have talked to each of you and listened to your stories.
Henry – my son – this is for you! You’ve inspired me in so many ways. You made me come out of my shell and shine light in this world. This is for you my little guy. Thank you for having the kind heart you show everyday. For those of you that have not met Henry, one day you will. He has shown me to go out of my way, for the betterment of others. If it wasn’t for that day, we wouldn’t have had lights and this would have never become possible.
Marysville, Thank you for everything these last few weeks. MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM MY FAMILY TO YOURS! We will continue to collect toys through 1 p.m. on Sunday, December 18, 2022 and then wrap up our donation drive to deliver all the items to the Ronald McDonald House.
Remember one thing. On Christmas Day, remember the impact you’ve made on so many families and their children. I appreciate it so much. Thank You! Until next year!