Toy Story: Department staff helping sick kids

Paul Kaproulias standing in a DHS office. He is standing behind a table filled with colouring books. In front of the table are four chairs with various textas, soft toys, etc, on them. Behind him are cabinets with various boxed toys stacked on top of it.

A toy drive is bringing joy to the faces of children at the Royal Hobart Hospital Paediatric Ward, thanks to the generosity of Department of Human Services’ employee Paul Kaproulias and his colleagues.

Inspired to run the collection after a visit to the ward last month, Paul helped collect more than 80 toys and books for the hospital since the start of May.

“During my visit I noticed the toys available for children to play with were either damaged or worn out, after being shown a lot of love,” Paul said.

“I’m hoping our contribution makes a huge difference for these children during what can often be a scary and confronting time.”

Paul at the Royal Hobart Hospital Paediatric Ward holding a box with a toy doll in it. His head is slightly tilted, and he's smiling widely at the camera.
Paul at the Royal Hobart Hospital Paediatric Ward.

Donations are putting brand new soft toys, board games, colouring books, pens, pencils and crayons, and arts and crafts items into the hands of children staying at the hospital.

“It’s been overwhelming to see the number of donations rolling in, which I’m sure will bring a smile to some very unfortunate and sick children during their stay,” said Paul.

Royal Hobart Hospital Manager of Community Relations Thomas Williams eagerly welcomed the donations.

“It’s great seeing how much fun the children have when there are new toys to play with, particularly for some of our long-term patients.

Paul and Cassandra standing behind boxes of toys at the Royal Hobart Hospital Paediatric Ward. They are holding a box with a toy doll in it. Cassandra is smiling at Paul, and Paul is smiling at the camera.
Paul and Cassandra get behind boxes of donations at the Royal Hobart Hospital Paediatric Ward.

“We’re so appreciative of the generosity of Paul and his colleagues, and the wonderful items donated by department staff,” said Mr Williams.

“We can never have enough donations so it’s really great to see people go out of their way to support our Paediatric Ward.”

Paul hopes the toy collection will become an annual initiative for the department.

“I had only planned to run the collection within my own team at work, but more people heard about what I was doing and asked to be involved,” said Paul.

“So we put collection boxes in our offices in multiple locations across Southern Tasmania.

“After seeing the success of the toy collection it would be great to have the initiative run again next year, potentially expanding to more locations.”

Paul visited the Royal Hobart Hospital on Friday 26 May to deliver the donations to the delight of hospital staff and patients.