Holiday Season Cheer For The Metropolitan Hospital In Harlem

By  Joan Clark

This holiday season joy was made possible for children at NYC Health + Hospitals Metropolitan, in East Harlem, New York.

Aramark in conjunction with Alliance for Strong Families & Communities and NAACP Harlem sponsored a toy drive.

A toy drive is an annual event, but the additional resources brought by the organizations bolstered the hospital’s efforts allowing for greater reach of more children. Christopher Roker, Chief Executive Officer of Metropolitan Hospital agrees. “Every year, NYC Health + Hospitals Metropolitan conducts a toy drive for our Pediatric patients, [but] through the generosity of donors like Aramark, we are able to extend the warmth of the holidays to hundreds of our youngest patients.”

With unemployment rates comparable to the Great Depression of the 1930s, this holiday season will be unlike anything many families have ever seen, so the need for an event like this had greater significance. “The Covid pandemic has been monetarily burdensome on so many families, so we thought a toy drive was an effective way to ease some financial pains,” said Dione Moore, Chair of Aramark LEAD New York-New Jersey.

In previous years a toy drive at the hospital entailed groups of children and their families congregating together in the presence of Santa Claus, where they unwrapped gifts and wasted no time at playing.

However, there is a pandemic and that necessitates social distancing, so in 2020 families are instructed to retrieve a gift after their appointment.

But if the smiles and laughter from children is an indicator, then it is fair to say the change in procedure has not dampened their enthusiasm.

The overwhelming response from the Aramark community to contribute toys and the generous donation from Alliance for Strong Families & Communities, enabled Metropolitan Hospital to not only gift their patients but other children within the Harlem community.

The overwhelming response from the Aramark community to contribute toys and the generous donation from Alliance for Strong Families & Communities, enabled Metropolitan Hospital to not only gift their patients but other children within the Harlem community.

“Harlem has its challenges economically and that has been impacted greatly during this current pandemic… events like this help to lighten the load for some of our struggling families.”

Anthony Harmon, President of NAACP Harlem acknowledges the importance of having an event in this community. “Harlem has its challenges economically and that has been impacted greatly during this current pandemic… events like this help to lighten the load for some of our struggling families.”

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All the organizations agreed that during economic hardships children tend to be our most vulnerable, which is what inspired the coordination of this event, and Sean Ames, Co-chair of Aramark LEAD New York-New Jersey, agrees. “I’m proud to be a part of such a benevolent effort. Aramark, NAACP, and Alliance for Strong Families & Communities all came together to make this happen and I couldn’t be more pleased,” and neither could the patients of NYC Health + Hospitals Metropolitan.

Photo credit: Guests at the event for Metropolitan Hospital in East Harlem.


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Harlem World Magazine is about living your best life and style around the block and around the world of Harlem.

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