Faith’s drive fills magical Toy Closet
Faith Tremblay knows what it is to spend the holidays in the hospital.
She had spent three weeks in Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital fighting for her life with an auto inflammatory disease, and watched how toys brought hope and happiness to the children there.
Faith’s mother, Lisa, said that image — and the joy Faith felt in receiving toys herself — has remained with her to this day.
Faith, a Shelton High junior, is holding her third annual toy drive, with hopes of collecting more than 1,000 toys for the hospital’s Toy Closet.
Seven drop-off locations are available, and Faith is hosting toy donation days at Walmart, 465 Bridgeport Ave., Dec. 5 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Dec. 7 from noon to 6 p.m.
“Faith has seen first-hand what the Toy Closet can do … it’s truly magical,” said Lisa. “She remembers how sick she was and how important the Toy Closet was to her, and she just wants to do the same thing for the kids in the hospital, especially during the holiday season.”
Faith will also have some celebrity assistance in her quest for donations. Miss CT Teen USA 2020 Samantha Sarelli, Miss CT USA 2020 Chelsea Demby, Renee DiNino of iHeart Radio River 105.9, Elsa from Frozen, Snow White, Santa, Bridgeport Sound Tigers mascot Storm, KC101 DJ Adam Rivers, News Channel 8’s Brian Spyros and Ashley Baylor, and Fox 61’s Margaux Farrell and Keith McGilvery have all agreed to help with toy collections.
Over the past two years, Faith’s annual toy drive has collected more than 900 toys. In the process, Faith has becomea celebrity herself, appearing on Fox61 and other radio and TV stations to promote her efforts. Already this year, she has collected more than 300 toys.
“You realize doing this how many kind people there are out there," said Lisa. “We hear on the news so much negativity and all the bad things, bad moments. That’s why I love doing this. This shows how many kind people there are in the world, and people have not forgotten how to be kind, how to be helpful, how to support each other, especially when it is a complete stranger.”
Faith has been battling lifelong health issues since the age of 2 when she was diagnosed with a rare brain disorder.
"She has a lot of rare sicknesses she battles all the time,” said Faith, adding that, when Faith was first diagnosed with the brain disorder, so many people held fundraisers to aid the family. “We learned you have to enjoy every day as it comes, whether it’s a good day or a bad day. You just have to be kind to people, and if you can help them, you have to help them.”
Lisa said several organizations and companies are sponsoring the toy drive, from Barnum Financial to Walmart, Miss CT USA and Teen USA to the Shelton High School cheerleaders, as well as many more.
"They have embraced Faith’s wish,” said Lisa, “and wanted to add a dose of hope to it to make at big and successful for her."
There are seven toy drop off locations: Just Tumble, 415 Howe Avenue, Suite 304, Shelton; Shelton Community Center, 41 Church St.; Arooga's Restaurant, 387 Bridgeport Ave., Shelton; The Edge Fitness Club, 862 Bridgeport Ave., Shelton; Tuttle Insurance Group, 19 New Haven Road, Seymour; Discovery Museum, 4450 Park Ave., Bridgeport; and Shelton High School, 120 Meadow St. in Shelton. The drop-off locations will be at the sites until Dec. 3, except at the high school, where the box will remain until Dec. 6.
Faith's Annual Toy Drive also is an online Amazon Wish List. All orders will be delivered directly to Faith. The link is https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/15GQX8ZER28B3.