BSA Troop 34 donates Lego sets to hospitalized kids through Bricks of Hope
When Boy Scout Christopher Tatro heard about Bricks of Hope, he knew that this was the organization he had been looking for.
Throughout COVID, he had saved some of his allowance for charity and wanted to buy Legos for some of the children who were hospitalized locally.
However, he was having difficulty finding a recipient. "When we contacted local hospitals, they were on extreme lockdown due to COVID. It was early on in the pandemic and understandably they were very cautious about bringing in toys from the outside," said his mom, Sharon Cline.
So the idea sat. Then Sharon read an article in the Daily Herald about Adam Petraglia, founder of Bricks of Hope.
"His story was really moving," said Sharon. "As a child, he was diagnosed with leukemia, which resulted in a prolonged hospitalization. He felt that having Legos gave him joy which helped his recovery during that time."
In December 2021, Adam launched Bricks of Hope, a nonprofit organization that donates new Lego sets to children in area hospitals. When Sharon told her son about the organization, he was excited to have an avenue to donate new Lego sets.
Since both Sharon and Christopher are involved in their local Boy Scout troop, the two thought that they would see if the troop was interested in participating.
"I knew that a lot of our scouts like playing with Legos and we are always looking for different service projects for Troop 34," said Sharon, one of the leaders of Troop 34 in Wheaton. "So I reached out to the scout families and they were all receptive to the idea."
Sharon reached out to Adam, who was thrilled that Troop 34 was going to do a Lego drive for Bricks of Hope. The Wauconda resident offered to come to a troop meeting to accept the donations and meet with the scouts.
On July 19, Troop 34 presented Adam with 24 new Lego sets, totaling 5,142 individual bricks. He had a chance to speak with the scouts, relaying the story of his journey with cancer.
Enthusiastically, he told the scouts he still enjoys Legos himself and knows how much the hospitalized children will appreciate their donation.
The following week, these sets were among several others that were donated to Rush University Children's Hospital in Chicago.
To date, 800 Lego sets have been donated to regional children's' hospitals.
Troop 34 felt this was a great service project that allowed them to connect to other children through an activity that all kids enjoy: Legos.
To donate, go to bricksofhope.givingfuel.com/donate or email Adam Petraglia at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more on BSA Troop 34 Wheaton, visit wheatontroop34.org.