Kids in Menlo Park and East Palo Alto team up to cheer peers at hospital

It took only a half hour for a group of about 200 adults and kids from Menlo Park and East Palo Alto to assemble 500 care kits for patients at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital on Feb. 12, event organizer Jen Smith said.

The project was an exercise in community service for parents and students at three schools: Oak Knoll Elementary in Menlo Park, Costano Elementary in East Palo Alto, and the San Francsico 49ers Academy, a middle school that shares a campus with Costano.

"We thought it'd be great to do something as a community," said Ms. Smith, whose four children attend Oak Knoll Elementary in Menlo Park. She said that even though students at the three schools live in an area that shares the same public high school, they don't have much chance to interact with each other.

The care kit assembly project was the culmination of a three-week supply drive that had been conducted at all three schools.

Each classroom was tasked with supplying 100 items, or about five items per kid for a 20-student classroom, Ms. Smith said. Following guidance from the hospital, the students gathered the materials and assembled kits containing baby care items, art supplies, games and activities, and teen care items.

"It was pretty amazing," she said of the quantity of supplies the students gathered.

The costs of the project were borne primarily by the students and their families, she said. Schools contributed some printed materials.

She has had personal experience with the value of such kits at the children's hospital. Her own son spent a lot of time there while receiving treatment for a brain tumor.

"It's such a small thing to do for people who are putting it together, and such a big reward for the person who's receiving it," she said.

Anne McCune, chief operating officer of the hospital, and Sherri Sager, chief government and communications officer, attended and accepted the donation on behalf of the hospital, Ms. Smith said.

Watch a short video of the event here.


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