NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Before you get caught up in turkey roasting and holiday shopping, mark your calendar for Giving Tuesday.
November 30 is the celebration of worldwide generosity when people are encouraged to share acts of kindness and support community causes.
This year, the Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters is hoping Hampton Roads will open its hearts and wallets to help with the new pediatric mental health hospital its building right now.
The $224 million facility is the answer to many prayers. Renee Parker, who took custody of her nephew when he was 5 years old can attest.
“At one point, I really thought he was possessed,” she told WAVY.
An ambulance drove the boy more than three hours away to Staunton, Virginia, because no place in Hampton Roads could provide the help he needed.
“He couldn’t see us because it was so far. We talked to him over the phone. There were some days when he didn’t want to talk because I guess he felt like we had abandoned him,” she said.
Renee poured out her heart in a letter to CHKD.
“If CHKD is supposed to be the guru for children’s health, why are you not in charge of children’s mental health?” she said, recalling what her letter said to CHKD.
She is far from the only one who did this, said CHKD President and CEO Jim Dahling.
“The community indicated that this was services that they needed,” Dahling said.
CHKD responded when it broke ground in 2019 on the state-of-the-art pediatric mental health hospital. It can’t open fast enough for the 1,500 kids currently in treatment and the nearly 2,500 families on a waiting list.
However, they still need a little time and a lot of money.
“To provide the services in the … to the extent and degree that it appears we need to provide is a very expensive proposition,” Dahling explained.
Large corporations have pitched in $58 million. On Giving Tuesday, Dahling hopes Hampton Roads residents will give too.
“This is the $5 and $10, the $20 gift is just as valuable. If we get enough of those, that really builds,” he said.
The donations will also build a healthy community of kids like Parker’s nephew who is now 13, doing well in school, and playing football and basketball.
“All of these great things now are happening for children and mental illness and I’m so happy that there’s somewhere locally that these children can go,” Parker said.
Somewhere close to home so families can heal together.
If you would like to donate on Giving Tuesday or any day click on Lighting The Way For Mental Health.