Boxes of gifts for sick children at Michigan hospitals get delivered with outside assist

A Farmington Hills company had a huge team building exercise planned for May - packing hundreds of boxes for kids at local children's hospitals - which suddenly was cancelled because of COVID-19.

As a result, Learning center Gale Cengage found itself with a challenge on its hands.

"We need to come up with how to get these cheer boxes into the children's hands ASAP," said Shannon Ostrowski, the director of events. "During this time the children are not allowed visitors - maybe one at a time - so they're not able to see their siblings - they're not able to see grandparents."

So it seemed all the more important to pack these boxes full of toys and snacks and learning products for these kids - so they contacted Cheeriodicals in Alabama - and asked them to pack the boxes instead - right away.

"We shipped out 296 Cheeriodicals - so just shy of 300," said Gary Parisher of Cheeriodicals. "The two hospitals were just blown away that we were able to pull this off at a time when it was really needed the most."

The gifts for the children went to Children's Hospital of Michigan and C.S. Mott in Ann Arbor.

"We were able to provide these boxes which have a cute little stuffed animal - it has games, crafts, activities, educational tools," Ostrowski said.

And even though they couldn't personally pack the boxes themselves - all of the employees wrote notes that were included for the kids.

"My note was, 'You are not alone - we are thinking and praying for you every day,'" she said.

And grateful for the opportunity to make a day a little brighter for a child during a difficult time.

"Instead of writing learning materials - they were writing notes to the individual patients," said Paul Gazzolo, the GM of Gale Cengage. "It was really moving and I think what it brought home for me is whether you're learning or you’re healing - the thought of someone caring for you can make all the difference."