Last year, The Explorer Newspaper asked readers to take some time and donate food or toys to our office, which were then taken to local organizations to help the underprivileged have a nicer holiday.

Readers came through in fine fashion. We donated a lot of toys to the local fire department, and had plenty of food to contribute to the food bank. 

We were also excited to give each of those donating a raffle ticket, which led to one our readers winning the grand-prize iPad Mini. Two other raffle winners also received nice gifts in return for taking part in The Explorer’s holiday program.

This year, The Explorer would like to keep the trend going, by asking readers to give this season, and in return, get a raffle ticket that could result in a new iPad mini, which was recently released by Apple. A drawing will also be held for two other raffle winners.

To get a raffle ticket to win, readers will be asked this year to look inside their hearts to help some families who might be stressed out this year with children in the hospital, more specifically, we are looking to make the holidays a little brighter for families with a child inside University Medical Center’s NICU unit, or pediatrics unit, which is treating all ages of children up to teenagers.

The children are treated through the Diamond Children’s Center, which has been recognized for its superior capabilities in neonatal and pediatric intensive care, pediatric emergency care, and other specialized services such as pediatric cancer. 

The center also treats the day-to-day needs of children and their families, from the simple to the complex. 

The Diamond Center program also focuses on the needs of the entire family, from the young patients, their parents, their siblings and other loved ones.

This means UMC’s Diamond Center has children of all ages from newborn, to teenagers who deserve to have their spirits lifted this holiday season.

One nurse of the facility said besides donations for the babies, they are always looking for more for the teenage patients who seem to be overlooked so often. That means they are always in need of more hand-held games and iTune cards.

For the parents, since the facility no longer provides meals to families, gift cards are especially helpful to the parents, since it can become very expensive between paying medical bills, shopping for holiday gifts and eating while visiting sick children.

For the infants, donations such as teethers, rattles, crib mobiles and musical light up toys are helpful.

For toddlers, sorters and stacking toys are at the top of the list, while other popular items include pop-up toys and musical light-up toys.

For preschool-aged patients, the most requested items are action figures such as Sponge Bob, Dora, Deigo, Spiderman, Superman and others.

For school-aged patients, the most requested are balls of any type such as basketballs, baseballs or footballs.

A good donation for school-aged children also includes Lego sets, craft/art kits and any toys with Hannah Montana, High School Musical, That’s so Raven or Sponge Bob.

Donations can be left at The Explorer office, located at 7225 N. Mona Lisa Rd. For more information, contact Thelma Grimes at 797-4384, or email at


Donation Information:

While we are in need of items in all age groups in both English and Spanish, we are in most need of items listed under "Infants," "Toddlers" and "Adolescents" as well as gift cards.  Additionally, the most requested items for each age group are in BOLD.  Of course, we greatly appreciate all donations.

A few quick guidelines:  Please make sure that all toys are new (because of infection control) and paints and glues are non-toxic.  Please do not donate play guns or war toys, latex balloons, scary action figures, candy, gum, or other food.



  • Infant Rattles/ Teething Toys (Sassy, First Years, Gerber, etc)
  • Crib Mobiles (Sassy Music in Motion Mobile, Fisher Price Aquarium Mobile, Fisher Price Flutter Dreams Baby Bird Mobile, Baby Einstein Color and Shape Mobile, Manhattan Baby Dev Stimulation Mobile)—must be all plastic
  • Musical and Light-up toys
  • Books (Board and vinyl)
  • Infant Stimulation Toys (black, red, and white)
  • Infant Mirrors
  • Fisher Price Crib Aquariums
  • Infant Kick and Play's/Activity Gyms
  • Swings/Bouncy Chairs
  • Bumbo Baby seat (Infant Chair)



  • Shape Sorters and stacking toys
  • Pop-up toys/ cause and effect toys
  • Musical and Light-up toys
  • Books (touch & feel, pop-up, musical)
  • One-piece Activity Toys
  • Fisher Price Little People/Little Tikes play sets
  • Plastic Cars, Trucks, Trains, etc.
  • Large blocks
  • Vinyl Play/Tumbling Floor Mats (No larger than 5x5)
  • DVD Movies (Newer releases, G rated)


Preschool Age

  • Popular action figures (Sponge Bob, Dora, Diego, Spiderman, Superman, etc.)
  • Dolls (plastic, babies, Disney Princesses, Dora the Explorer, etc.)
  • Large electronic interactive toys (Leapfrog, etc.)
  • Plastic Cars and Trucks
  • Magna Doodles and drawing boards
  • Hot Wheels and Match Box cars
  • Books (interactive, musical, pop-up books)
  • Fisher Price Little People / Little Tikes play sets
  • Lego's (small and large) and Lego people
  • View Masters with Disks
  • Bubbles
  • Play-Doh
  • Remote Control Cars/Trucks (rechargeable)
  • DVD Movies (Newer releases, G and PG rated)


School Age

  • Balls of all types (basketball, football, Nerf toys, toss games, etc.)
  • Small Lego Sets (Star Wars, Harry Potter, Bionical's, etc.)
  • Craft/Art kits (beading, sewing, model airplanes, model cars, etc)
  • Any toys with Hannah Montana, High School Musical, That’s So Raven, or Sponge Bob theme
  • Books (I Spy, story, and chapter books)
  • Beading kits
  • Gift Cards in all price ranges (Target, Wal-Mart, Toys'R'Us, Blockbuster, Movie Tickets, Sports Authority, Best Buy, etc.)
  • Hand Held Electronic Games (20 Questions, Bop-it, Connect 4, etc.)
  • Walkie Talkies
  • Stress Squeeze Toys
  • Paint-By-Number Sets
  • Black Velvet Fuzzy Posters coloring sets
  • DVD Movies (Newer releases, up to PG-13, NO rated R)



  • DVD Movies (Newer releases, up to PG-13, NO rated R)
  • Bath gels, Lotions, Nail Polish and Nail Polish Remover
  • Craft/Art kits (Beading, sewing, Model airplanes, Model cars)
  • Gift Cards in all price ranges (Target, Wal-Mart, Toys'R'Us, Blockbuster, Movie Tickets, Sports Authority, Best Buy, etc.)
  • T-Shirts/Hats with Cartoon/Sports Logos and athletic shorts
  • Activity Books, Word Searches, Cross Word Puzzles, and Sudoku
  • Diaries/Journals
  • Nerf Toys, such as basketball, football, sets, toss games
  • Craft/Art kits (Beading, Model airplanes, Model cars)
  • Photo Albums and Scrap-booking Supplies
  • Playing cards / Magic sets
  • UNO cards and UNO Attack
  • Black Velvet Fuzzy Poster coloring sets
  • Portable/personal DVD players
  • MP3 Players
  • No More Tangles Spray
  • Music CD's (Teen music; no explicit lyrics, nature, relaxation, classical)


Arts and Crafts; Creative Items

  • Boxes/Photo Frames to decorate
  • Beads/ individual beading kits
  • Individual craft kits
  • Coloring books
  • Giant coloring pages
  • Markers (washable, fabric, Sharpie, etc.)
  • Acrylic Paints
  • Glue (tacky, Elmer’s, glue sticks, glitter)
  • Wiggly Eyes, Rhinestones, Sequin Decorations-Large Containers
  • Self Stick Foam Pieces
  • Lanyard String
  • Gel Pens
  • Sketch Books and Pencils
  • White and Colored Poster Board
  • Model Magic clay
  • Water color paper



  • Gift Cards in all price ranges (Target, Wal-Mart, Toys'R'Us, Blockbuster, Movie tickets, Sports Authority, Best Buy, etc.)
  • Hair Clips and Hair Ties
  • Hairbrushes
  • Disposable Cameras
  • Wall Posters (Character, Sports, Bright colors for kids and teens)
  • Mini Dry Erase Boards and Markers



  • Starlight Starbright Foundation: Wii Fun Centers
  • Starlight Starbright Foundation: PC Pals laptops
  • Portable DVD players
  • MP3 Compatible Boom Boxes
  • Playstation 3
    • Video Game Systems
    • Video Games
    • Controllers
  • DS
    • Video Game Systems
    • Video Games
  • Wii
    • Video Game Systems
    • Video Games
    • Controllers
    • Guitars and Rock Band supplies
  • Televisions (must be compatible with the above listed video game systems)
  • Rolling TV Carts (must be metal)


*Please note that we no longer accept VHS tapes, as we only have DVD players.

(1) comment


This is great! I hope I can donate something.

Also--your heading says "Ipod mini" but the article says kindle fire. Don't want anyone to get confused.

Good luck with your donations!

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