While she won’t be able to personally deliver toys to children at OSF Illinois Children’s Hospital in Peoria, Sierra Brown of Cambridge will continue to reach out to them.
At the age of 16, Brown, now a student at Illinois State University, Normal, founded the A Hand to Hold Ministry to benefit children hospitalized during the holidays.
In previous years, she led toy drives, raised funds and made blankets and more and brought these gifts to Peoria Children’s Hospital.
Amid the current pandemic, the project is still ongoing, but rather than collecting toys and other items, Brown is seeking cash donations.
“What I plan to do is total the donations I receive, then take a check with the total money collected and I will present the check to the director of hospital activities,” he said. she declared. “All funds received will be used to purchase toys, gifts, learning materials and to pay for special events for children.”
In previous years, Brown has been able to organize coin drives at schools in the area where children have donated to A Hand to Hold, but these have not been able to take place this and other years. fundraising events.
“While we are sad that we cannot visit the children in the hospital, we hope ‘A Hand to Hold’ will bless them and their families this Christmas season,” said Brown.
Cash or checks can be deposited in the drop box at the Cambridge Village Office, 124 West Exchange St., or next door at Cambridge United Methodist Church, 120 West Exchange St.
Donors are asked to write “A Hand to Hold” on the envelopes and anyone leaving checks at the church should make checks payable to Cambridge United Methodist Church with “A Hand to Hold” written on the memo line.
Donations can be left until Saturday, December 19.
Brown’s mission began five years ago at her home church, Cambridge United Methodist, when she invited a few close friends to brainstorm with her on the organization’s name. . I didn’t want it to be limited to just one category as my vision for this mission was to use it as a platform to get people of all ages involved in selfless acts of kindness and carrying volunteers for a plethora of causes.
Thus, A Hand to Hold was born and Brown believes the name reflects the idea that his group will be able to lend a helping hand to those in need.
Since its inception, A Hand to Hold volunteers have helped give dance lessons, collect coats, blankets, winter clothes, fundraise for a homeless shelter, play music in a hospice, to advertise Rock to Romania, to raise awareness about suicide prevention, paid tribute to the pastor of the church during Pastor’s Appreciation Month and organized a clean-up day for the city-wide courtyard.
Each year, starting in 2016, Brown has also raised funds, raised toys, stuffed animals, made blankets and more and brought the gifts to the Illinois Children’s Hospital in Peoria.
“I try to involve different groups of people every year for our visit to the hospital,” she said. “In 2017, the Ridgewood Spartan cheerleader team (Cambridge and Alwood) helped me cut, tie and make personal blankets for the kids at the hospital and the cheerleaders came with me to deliver the blankets. “
Brown chooses a goal for the annual hospital visit and says, “We made books, blankets and toys. Once all the gifts are made or purchased, I bring them to my church where our pastor and our entire congregation meet at the altar and pray for the children who will receive the gifts. We pray for healing, joy, and purpose.
“The feeling I get from taking care of others is the reason I continue to serve,” she said. “I know I am able to use my talents for the benefit of others. All it takes is a little dedication and passion to make it happen.
When getting people involved in a cause bigger than themselves, Brown said she feels like she’s doing what really matters in life.
“I hope the opportunities that A Hand to Hold offers give people a chance to take a step back and realize how lucky we are and how precious and precious life is,” she said. . “We are given a life and we can live it as we see fit. I want A Hand to Hold to give people a reason to smile and give a helping hand as a community. I hope A Hand to Hold inspires people to find their own purpose in life and to do what makes them happy.
For more information or to donate to A Hand to Hold, contact Brown at [email protected] More information is also available on the A Hand to Hold Face book page and on Instagram.