With the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on vulnerable & marginalized communities, the Research Committee of the Peer Medical Foundation, led by Co-Directors Rachel Lisogurski & Madison McKellar created the Pediatric Care Kits Project for young patients staying at the McMaster Children’s Hospital.
The project was born after they realized the implications the pandemic had on BIPOC communities and mothers in general. Many pregnant women and new mothers felt that the COVID-19 adaptations to care were inadequate to meet their needs. They desired support in response to stress, and the birthing process, and that was not readily available given the changing times, financial difficulties, isolation from loved ones and tremendous stress. In preparation for their newborns, toddlers and children, purchasing toys, clothes and necessary items was not an option. The choice was often between food on the table, paying rent or for the health costs that come with being a parent. It is for this reason that the Pediatric Care Kits Project was created with 3 different targeted age groups in mind (0-2, 2-5 and 6-8 years) and with a gift for their primary caregiver.
On December 1st, 2021, 24 hand curated Pediatric Care Kits were donated to the Child Advocacy and Assessment Program at the McMaster Children’s Hospital. After receiving funding from the RisingYouth community service grant, Rachel & Madie spent weeks gathering toys, clothes, blankets, and more into these customized individual care packages for children. Rachel, a final year student at McMaster University states “It can be very stressful for families to find ways to financially and emotionally support their children who are staying at the hospital. Therefore, these kits were designed to help relieve this burden off of the families, and provide the children with necessary items to make their hospital stays easier.”
The care kits were organized into three different age categories ranging from 0-2 years, 3-6 years, and 7-10 years old. Madison, a third year student at McMaster University adds “toys and games to help distract the children from what they are going through were included, as well as important personal care items such as masks, bibs, and water bottles”. The McMaster pre-medical students put a lot of thought into the project and even added an appreciation gift card in each kit for the parents and/or guardians of the children, to thank them for everything they do. They hope they were able to make these children, those especially with chronic illness, rare diseases, and cancer a little happier!
At the Peer Medical Foundation, we are very excited to have made a difference in the lives of these families, and can not wait for future opportunities to give back to the local communities in need as we strive to support patient wherever they are and especially children, adolescents and youth who may be even more vulnerable during these challenging times.