Philadelphia Toy DriveThis past Valentine’s Day season – a holiday typically associated with romantic love – the Sonesta Hotel Philadelphia decided to pool its resources and spread some love of another sort. They joined the fight against childhood leukemia and lymphoma … on two fronts.

Just up the Delaware River a ways from Sonesta, at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, kids of all ages are undergoing treatments that can rid their bodies of these dangerous illnesses. And because it’s hard to imagine a kid who doesn’t like toys, employees put out a call for a toy drive. Stuffed animals, arts and crafts supplies, dolls and all manner of games showed up in the collection area set up in the break room. “It looks like Christmas morning in here!” was a popular exclamation from anyone who passed by.

The toys were bagged up, filling several large trash bags, and donated to the Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter of the Leukemia Lymphoma Society (LLS), the world’s largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancers. LLS surveyed the treatment venues in the area, and sent the toys where they were needed most – St. Christopher’s. Thanks to the drive, the kids have some colorful and fun distractions to keep them busy during a stressful time.

But toys weren’t the only donation that employees worked hard to collect. The local business community and fellow Sonesta properties donated raffle prizes for the first annual “Sweet Sonesta Auction,” a fun event to raise money for LLS. Among the contributors were the Rittenhouse Spa & Club, Devon Seafood Grill, Chima Brazilian Restaurant, Lucky Strike Bowling Alley, the Franklin Institute and the Royal Sonesta Harbor Court Baltimore. It was a wildly successful gathering that raised more than $1,200 for LLS.

Sonesta’s Culture of Caring looks forward to continuing to support LLS and its efforts to eradicate cancers of the blood.