Students, faculty and community volunteers at Roanoke College recently came together to prepare hundreds of toys that will be donated to local children with disabilities and medical conditions as part of the eighth year of the Toy Like Me at Roanoke College initiative.
Inspired by the work of a 2016 disabilities studies class, Toy Like Me at Roanoke College modifies action figures, dolls, stuffed animals and more to represent children who too often aren’t able to see themselves reflected in the world around them.
The modified toys are donated to schools, hospitals and families. This year, the program anticipates it will be able to give away more than 400 toys thanks to generous donors who’ve contributed to the Toy Like Me fund: roanoke.edu/GiveToyLikeMe
Donations are increasingly vital as rising prices make toy purchases more expensive, organizers said. In addition to donating, supporters helped the program by volunteering to assist with modifying toys. The most recent modification date took place from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 2, in the Bast Center.
No prior experience or specialized skills was required for participants. Toy Like Me provided instruction and supplies. Modifications included adding features to represent walking aids, hearing devices, insulin pumps and more.
“Without our incredible supporters and partners, we wouldn’t be able to reach so many children,” said Frances McCutcheon, a lecturer at the college and founder of Toy Like Me at Roanoke College. “We’re grateful to be part of a community that understands what a powerful difference it can make in a young person’s life to feel seen and included and valued.”