What is the Toy Room?
The Riley Cheer Guild Toy Room is located at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health. It is filled with toys and handmade items that are ready to be distributed to patients. Each month, more than 14,000 Toy Room items are given to patients within the hospital. Many items in this room have been donated to the Riley Cheer Guild by our members, chapters, families, businesses, and members of the community. Although we receive many donated items, the Toy Room requires an annual budget of $115,000 to keep a consistent inventory of the most popular items needed for distractive therapy and play.
The History of the Toy Room
The distribution of toys began when our founding officers first created the Riley Hospital Cheer Guild in 1924. In fact, the very first patient at Riley Hospital for Children was greeted by members of the Riley Hospital Cheer Guild with gifts. They felt strongly that offering gifts to the patients would help to bring cheer while they were hospitalized. After several years of storing donated toys and handmade items in one of the officer’s living rooms, in 1930 the auxiliary appealed to the hospital for a room in which to keep the toys. The very first toy room included a battered kitchen table and one chair. Over time, larger rooms have been provided to keep up with the demand within the hospital.
Toy Room volunteers give an average of 200 hours per week to organize and prepare all of the handmade items and donated toys. Safety is a priority concern within the Toy Room, so our volunteers take great care in sorting and preparing all of the donated items. They ensure that the toys are brand new, clean, in their original package, and have no broken or missing pieces so that it is suitable to be presented to the children as a brand new gift. The volunteers check every item carefully to make sure that they meet the quality and standards that the hospital has asked for the Guild to follow. In addition, the volunteers review toy recall lists regularly so that faulty toys are not distributed.