BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Some area parents have to dig deep to get holiday presents for their children but they were happy to roll up their sleeves because these gifts didn’t cost a thing.

Kai Jackson has more.

The University of Maryland Hospital downtown calls it a snow pile, a mound of toys and clothes that families with hospitalized children are happy to dig through to find that perfect gift.

“And now today again to my surprise they came and said, `Miss Sergent, we wanna take you downstairs and pick out some Christmas gifts for free,’ and I said, `Wow, that’s amazing,'” said Towanda Sergent.

Sergent’s 10-year-old daughter has been in the hospital for five days. She’s been battling asthma and pneumonia and Sergent says she’s feeling better. Sergent and other families appreciate the hospital’s holiday generosity.

Mandy and Bob Bergin’s son was hospitalized two years ago.

“When you’re in here…you feel like your world is falling apart to a certain extent,” Bergin said. “It’s a little bit of fun to come in here and pick out gifts.”

An army of volunteers pitched in and helped families pick out presents and even wrapped gifts for those who needed it.

“We want to make sure that children and families don’t miss out on the joy of Christmas even though they’re in the hospital,” said Child Life manager Shannon Joslin.

“The hospital did a really good job with making sure the children felt the Christmas spirit,” Sergent said.

This was the third year of the Snow Pile free gift program. The University of Maryland Medical system says it was only able to do this through the generosity of many donors.


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