Local Foundation Brings Christmas Cheer To Children In Hospital

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FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) -- As the week of Christmas officially arrived, so did the need for holiday cheer for those experiencing difficult times.

One local charity is doing their part in bringing the holiday spirit to some of the smallest hospital patients in the state, and their families.

Each year, Angie Graves and the Jackson L. Graves foundation gather donations from the community.

They send them in gift bags to families with children in the NICU at Children`s Hospital in Little Rock.

“We collect supplies, blankets, and whatever [those at the NICU] are putting on their list, that they are needing,” Graves said.

The idea came about 10 years ago when Angie`s son, Jackson, was in the NICU during the holidays.

“Some friends from here realized, during the holidays, it`s very difficult. Even more so to be in the hospital with your baby,” Graves said.

Unfortunately, Jackson passed away after months in the NICU.

However, the family was inspired to use his short life to help others.

“We wanted to make sure every single year we did the same thing for the families who had to be in the hospital,” Graves said.

Today, the foundation provides gifts and basic necessities to families with children in the NICU.

“To take their situation, and bless so many families, I always thought it was just such a beautiful thing,” said Casey Roark, a volunteer.

On Saturday (Dec. 19), the foundation put together the gift bags for the 68 families who currently have children in the NICU in Little Rock.

“So many people have come together to help this happen,” said Audre Darling, executive director of the Jackson L. Graves Foundation.

All the gift bags will be delivered to Little Rock on Monday (Dec. 21) morning, just in time for Christmas.

A delivery, which those with the foundation say, is their favorite part of each year.

The babies in the NICU aren't the only ones to receive gifts.

The Jackson L. Graves Foundation also provides supplies and gifts to the families, and older siblings, of those patients in order to help make their holiday season a brighter.

“Once you have been at Children`s [Hospital], and you see the needs, it is always in your heart,” Roark said.

“That is what it is all about, giving back,” said Tisha Bosci, a volunteer.