Chicago — After nearly two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, a brother and sister decided their community could use some uplifting and charity.
Zach and Maddy Rodrigues are in their second year of organizing a local toy drive for the children at Comer Children's Hospital in Chicago. With the support of their parents the duo received nearly $3,500 in donations which allowed them to buy more than 1,200 toys this year.
Their parents instilled a sense of philanthropy when they were young and they started donating toys when they were in middle school. But then the pandemic changed the way we live and how we can donante. The toy drive they enjoyed contributing dissolved.
However, this didn’t stop the siblings and they decided to collect toys on their own and donate them. They also began to accept donations for toys and would go out to make purchases.
Zach, who loves all things sports especially baseball, said it all began with America’s favorite pastime.
“I was inspired by a toy drive my baseball team used to do, but after hearing COVID-19 caused it to be cancelled, I really wanted to do something for those kids,” said the 15-year-old who has aspirations of being in the professional league.
Maddy has a personal connection for wanting to bring some joy to sick children. She suffers from Osteogenesis imperfecta — a defective gene that affects how the body makes collagen, a protein that helps strengthen bones — which makes being a cheerleader and volleyball an interesting experience.
“I have a genetic disease that makes me break my bones easily, and I know as a kid it would have been nice to have a distraction for the procedures,” said the 14-year-old who’s had almost 70 fractures. “I want the kids to have something comforting while going through that pain.”