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Donation of fidget toys will help distract patients at Southlake

'It feels good because when you do it, you know someone is going to appreciate it,' Newmarket resident says of JustServe donation of 100 crocheted toys
Southlake events and partnerships officer Melanie Osmond accepts a donation of crochet fidget toys from Valerie Carleton.

Newmarket resident Valerie Carleton has found a unique way to help her community.

She has spent the past few months crocheting 75 fidget toys, meant to provide a distraction for those who need one. Through connections with her Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and others in the community, she has amassed about 400 of the toys.

“It feels good because when you do it, you know someone is going to appreciate it,” she said. 

On behalf of JustServe, Carleton donated 100 fidget toys to the Southlake Regional Health Centre Foundation today, Aug. 9. 

The website run by the church offers a free service for organizations to connect with volunteers in their community, and vice-versa.

Southlake Foundation events and partnerships officer Melanie Osmond said the foundation would work with its hospital partners to figure out the best departments in which the toys can be used.

“It’s great. One of the things the community doesn’t realize is some people come to Southlake not knowing they’re going to be in and staying,” Osmond said. “Having things like this, that can help keep their minds off the stay, is really good.”

The donation was suggested by JustServe, Carleton said, who then pitched it to Southlake Foundation. With hundreds of other fidget toys made locally through the church, Carleton said they will be looking for other organizations to donate to.

The toys can be well used by many as a distraction, Carleton said, including seniors and those with ADHD. 

As for JustServe, Carleton said it is a worthwhile website for local organizations in need of help.

“It’s a platform for organizations that require volunteers to get it in one place,” she said. “It’s a great platform for volunteers if they have just fresh hours, or if they have long periods of time, they can find out what is available in the community.” 

Organizations interested in receiving fidget toys or posting with JustServe can contact Carleton at [email protected]