A helping hand

Stuffed animals practically filled the staircase leading to the upstairs of the Trinity Guest House on Monday morning, blocking any sort of path up or down. It was impossible to take a step without crushing a teddy bear’s paw or another one’s stomach.

Gate City Bank, the Dakota Square location, donated approximately 300 stuffed animals to Trinity Health. The stuffed animals were delivered to the Trinity Guest House, directly east of Trinity Hospital, by employees of Gate City Bank. The Trinity Foundation collects stuffed animals from various donors throughout the year and distributes them to departments within the hospital.

Kayla Sivertson, financial planner at Gate City Bank, said the bank employees wanted to do random acts of kindness and will be participating in three total for this week. The donation of the stuffed animals was their first random act of kindness this week.

Three weeks ago, Sivertson and her coworkers were throwing ideas around and thought kids needed something to comfort them while their family members were in the intensive care unit. “We received lots of donations of stuffed animals and also bought from thrift stores around town,” she added. The stuffed animals were collected in three days, Sivertson said, and the donations ended up being a community-wide event since everyone gives to thrift stores at one time or another. Customers coming to the bank also donated stuffed animals.

Jodi Smith, Trinity Foundation director, said groups will bring ideas for how to help people in the hospital and it was huge that an organization like Gate City Bank was willing to help. “To bring joy and comfort to kids is huge,” she added.

People typically stay at the Trinity Guest House due to a tragic event, Smith said, and the stuffed animals bring a lot of comfort. The stuffed animals are also donated to kids going through Trinity’s Diabetes Center and hospice, she added. Additionally, they are given to kids in Trinity’s CancerCare Center as well as to people in the Alzheimer’s unit at Trinity Homes, Smith continued. “When we take the stuffed animals over to them, it brings them such joy.”

The Trinity Guest House runs at about 80 percent capacity, with people staying there anywhere from one night to six months, Smith said. There are a lot of kids who stay there with their families, she added.

Gate City Bank employees will be handing out cake pops to customers at Starbucks later this week and will also give a $100 gift card to someone who is down on their luck.