Firefighters deliver toys to kids in hospitals

December 24, 2013 (CHICAGO)

For a few hours on this Christmas Eve, some Chicago firefighters turned into Santa's elves, delivering loads of toys to the pediatric unit at Illinois Masonic Medical Center.

The toys kept coming, spilling out from under the Christmas tree in the hospital's lobby.

It amounted to easily a couple thousand toys, part of what was collected during the year by the Chicago Fire Department's charitable organization, called "Ignite the Spirit."

Illinois Masonic was the last stop after freighters made similar deliveries to two other hospital, apparently giving Santa a run for his money.

"We had one boy at Comer's whose face just lit up when he saw these firemen. It was an amazing deal," said firefighter Rich Pinskey.

A deal that's been going on eleven years, with firefighters doing their part to bring some Christmas cheer to kids who have to spend the holiday in the hospital.

"Coming in to the hospital is a trying experience for everyone particularly kids and families, and it's just magnified during the holidays," said Dr. Clifton Clarke. "So this is just a wonderful, wonderful thing."

The toys were then brought upstairs to the pediatric unit where the hospital keeps a stockpile of goodies to give to patients throughout the year.

Presents were given to the two young patients on the wing.

The toys come in to the firefighters' "Ignite the Spirit" organization through donations and fundraisers.

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