Wish Lists – Donations

Please help us increase our clothing donations, urgently needed by so many Parkland patients. Newborn/preemie clothing and socks and underwear for adults continue to top the most-needed list. Please bring donations to FWC events or contact us to arrange a pickup. Our heartfelt thanks to all who supported the Wish Lists Project last year with your donations. 

Here is an interview with Hannah Clark, M.Ed., CCLS, Certified Child Life Specialist for Parkland Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. She explains the crucial ways our donations help newborns and parents who lack resources (the majority of the more than 12,000 babies born and 1,467 admissions into the NICU at Parkland in 2016!).

FWC: Thank you, Hannah, for taking time to share your unique perspective on how we can best help with the needs in Parkland’s Women and Infant Services. To start us off, can you provide some examples of family circumstances in which donated clothing, diapers, or other items are needed?

Hannah: Being the county hospital of Dallas, Parkland is a place that provides healthcare to individuals from all walks of life, regardless of their resources, support, or financial means. Within WISH department (women and infant services), we provide support to individuals who lack basic resources such as diapers, car seats, and clothes. In addition, many of our families lack emotional and financial support that so many people depend upon during hard times. This can make the joyous time of bringing a new baby into the world an extremely stressful and intimidating experience. When we receive donations, no matter how small, each item truly changes the lives of the families we are able to provide them to. By receiving each special donation, and distributing them appropriately throughout our units, we are able to set these families up for success upon leaving the hospital.

FWC: How do the books we donate help babies, young siblings, and their parents?

Hannah: When we receive donations of books, we are not only able to provide families with a special gift, but we are also able to teach families about the importance of literacy and language development. We are able to provide baby books to families of premature infants that are unable to handle touch and encourage our parents to utilize reading as a form of attachment and bonding with their sick infants. We are able to provide picture and chapter books to siblings, who spend hours at the hospital with their families; this enables learning and engages siblings, who are so often forgotten about during a family member's stressful extended hospital stay. By leaving baby books at the bedside, it encourages family members and visitors to read to our infants, which is an incredible way to promote healthy brain development, as well as normalizing the hospital environment.

FWC: Can you quantify the overall need for NICU donations? Maybe you could tell us roughly how many infants are born at Parkland each year — and, again roughly, what percentage or how many of those infants need help with basics, like clothing and diapers?

Hannah: It is hard to discuss the overall need, as the need is SO great. The number of infants born at Parkland in 2016 alone was 12,079, with 127 sets of twins and 4 sets of triplets! In addition, we had 1467 admissions to the NICU in 2016! Not to mention, the numbers keep growing. Of all of the families we see, I would say over 70% of them are in dire need of resources - though this is just a guesstimate. Keep in mind, we see homeless mothers, very young teen mothers, substance abusing mothers, and other extreme, high-risk social situations, where any donation/baby item is needed desperately.

FWC: Are clothing and diapers the most needed items, or are there others that are equally needed? We donate socks, hats, blanket sleepers, and a few other types of items, but most of what we collect are bodysuits, onesies, pants, and diapers, mostly preemie and newborn, with some 0-3 month sizes.

Hannah: This is an area that we will ALWAYS need high numbers of donations. Of course, donations of other items such as sleep sacks, receiving blankets, diaper or tote bags, and large items such as pack n' plays and infant carrier car seats are incredibly helpful. But, I would say that the clothing, diapers, and tote bags are items we go through very quickly and are in constant need of!

FWC: Thank you so much for helping us better understand the needs of Parkland infants and their families. We hope to increase our donations as we share this information with our members.

Newborn/NNICU

  • Preemie, Newborn 0-3 and 3-6 month clothing items
  • Newborn disposable diapers, Size 1 and Size 2
  • Infant bathtubs
  • Baby bath/care products (Johnson & Johnson, Burt’s Bees Baby, California Baby)
  • Lamaze, Sassy, Bright Starts, Manhattan Toy or The First Years rattles (mirrors, black & white, textures, sounds, etc.)
  • Diaper Bags
  • Keepsake Items: photo albums, scrapbooks, baby books, handprint molds, disposable cameras, etc.
  • No baby bottles or pacifiers

Antepartum/Postpartum

  • Adult slippers/socks (non-skid with bottom grips)
  • DVDs (comedy, drama, romance, etc.)
  • Sleeping eye masks
  • Adult books/novels in Spanish or English
  • Puzzle books English or Spanish (Sudoku, crossword, word search)
  • Bathrobes and pajamas (any size)
  • Personal care items (soap, shampoo/conditioner, deodorant, lotions, toothbrushes, toothpaste, hair accessories, nail care, make up, facial care, laundry detergent, etc. – no razors)
  • Craft materials
  • Board games, playing cards

Adolescent Trauma Unit/Palliative Care Unit

  • Chapstick/lip balm
  • Hidden picture books (I Spy, Where’s Waldo, etc.)
  • DVDs (teen-friendly PG-13 and below, English or Spanish)
  • Arts & Crafts materials (felt coloring posters, scrapbooks, and scrapbook items)
  • Puzzle books (Sudoku, word search, crossword)
  • Board games (Clue, Battleship, Sorry, Trouble, Scrabble, etc.)
  • Playing cards (Uno, Phase10, Skip-Bo, etc.)
  • Nail polish, emery boards, nail polish remover pads, hair accessories
  • Markers
  • Colored pencils
  • Crayons
  • Photo albums
  • Soft blankets

Adult/Geriatrics

  • Deodorant
  • Plain soaps (such as Dove, Caress, etc.)
  • Denture cleaner and cups
  • Toothbrushes
  • Toothpaste
  • Combs, picks and hairbrushes
  • Shampoo and conditioner (travel sizes)
  • Magnifying glasses
  • Paperback novels
  • Books with large print
  • Bath robes (large sizes)
  • Flip-flops (men’s and women’s)
  • Lip balm/Chapstick
  • Knitted hats
  • Hand/body lotion
  • Lap robes
  • Full-size quilts/blankets
  • Socks
  • Sweatpants and sweatshirts (size M, L, XL, and XXL)
  • T-shirts (all sizes)
  • Men’s underwear
  • Women’s underpants (for victims of assault)

Music and Audio Books: Pain Relief for Pediatric Patients

A January 2015 Northwestern Medicine study cites: “Pediatric patients (ages 9-14) who listened to 30 minutes of songs by Taylor Swift, Rihanna, and other singers of their choosing – or audio books – had a significant reduction in pain after major surgery. The children chose from a playlist of top music in different genres including pop, country, rock, and classical…or short audio books.

“A strategy to control post-surgical pain without medication is important because opioid analgesics – most commonly used to control post-surgical pain – can cause breathing problems in children. Thus, caregivers usually limit the amount of opioids prescribed, and children’s pain is not well controlled.”

Remember, CDs and audio books are always on Parkland’s wish list.

When bringing donations to any FWC event, please look for Susan Froehlich, Mary Greene, or Karen Westergaard. Donations may also be dropped off, or you can bring them to the AM Book Group meetings for pickup by Mary Greene. Please, fwc@utsouthwestern.edu for more information.

Thank you for supporting these projects!