Nine-year-old donates to Cherry Hill Local 176’s hospital fundraiser

Cherry Hill Local 176 delegate Steve Warren personally thanked nine-year-old Lyla at her house with a plaque, flowers and a gift card on Jan. 9 for donating $305 to the Local’s fundraiser for patients at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Philadelphia. Lyla made and sold Christmas tree ornaments in her effort to raise money for local charities.

“We encourage more of these selfless acts,” Warren said. “She is someone who, at such a young age, shows so much care and compassion toward a certain cause for people in need.”

Lyla set up a table outside her house to sell homemade Christmas tree ornaments for $2.50 each in December. She had already raised $575 and was going to donate the money to charities in the area during the holiday season.

At the same time, Cherry Hill Local 176 had teamed up with Cherry Hill Professional Firefighters for a fundraiser to buy game systems for the patients at Shriners Hospitals for Children and was $305 short of the initial $3,000 goal. When Lyla learned of this, she knew she had step in so that the kids could receive presents for the holidays.

The Local used to bring truckloads of toys to the hospital in the past but changed the event this year amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, they opted raise money to buy all-inclusive game packages that retail for at least $1,000 each. These systems didn’t require Wi-Fi, unlike other systems, which would eliminate the need for frequent updates.

Lyla helped the Local reach its goal on Dec. 13 and donated the rest of the money to other charities in the area. Afterward, the Local received even more contributions and ended its fundraiser with $4,245 on Dec. 20. 

Through the donations, the Local purchased and donated two Xbox One consoles (deluxe teen bundle and ultimate family bundle) and a PlayStation 4 (deluxe teen bundle), all fully loaded with games. They also bought 10 controllers for the systems and 10 tethers to attach the system to the controllers for the hospital patients.

The fundraiser usually ends in a handoff of the toys to the hospital’s child ambassadors — patients who received approval from their parents to receive the gifts and distribute to other children. But this year, the Local put all the gifts in a wagon and delivered them to hospital staff on Jan. 29.

Warren noted the importance of encouraging these acts of kindness at an early age. “Hopefully these things will continue as we because it’s kind of rare to be as outgoing and proactive [as Lyla] at a young age,” he shared. “We really appreciate it.”