New York Irish family spread Christmas cheer with toy drive for sick children


Every year Deputy Inspector Christopher McCormack, commander of the 40th Precinct in Mott Haven and his sister Patricia Doyle, a pediatric nurse at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore (CHAM), run a toy drive for the children at the hospital.

The brother and sister are from a typical Irish family. Doyle is the oldest of seven siblings and McCormack is number six. Their other siblings are a cop, firefighter, nurse, and a teacher.

When he was in the 44th Precint in 2002, McCormack wanted to give something back to the community and he thought about all the children his sister had mentioned to him. “My sister would always tell me about the kids from all over the world who came to her hospital,” he told the NY Daily News. Doyle added, “He told me he’d seen over the years how the kids have touched my life, how happy they make me.”

So McCormack convinced the cops in the 44th to buy some toys for the children in the hospital and they delivered them a few days before Christmas. McCormack thought it would be a one time event, but the next year the cops asked about doing it again.

As McCormack has changed precints, the toy has been growing. He says, “Every place I’ve moved to, I get new people to give toys, and I have the hanger-ons from my old precints.”

Doyle also helps organize the giveaway. “Once October comes I ask what day he’s coming. I’m the middleman.” The cops bring all of the unwrapped presents to the hospital on the day of the giveaway. Over the years the giveaway has become more organized. McCormack laughed, “we used to just pile toys into bins.”

The policemen in uniform give hundreds of toys to children in all units of the hospital. Meghan Kelly, director of child life at CHAM said, “They brings hundreds of gifts, they give them to patients, kids visiting, every child in the room gets a gift.” The policemen leave a bunch of toys in the emergency room. There are up to 130 children at CHAM each day. There are 30 in the day hospital, some in the dialysis unit, and hundreds go to the ER daily. She added the policemen “really understand that this gesture is about the kids and their families and making them happy. There is no agenda.”

Doyle commented how lucky they are, “He realized how lucky we were growing up. When we had kids, it became more obvious how fortunate we were . . . we never had to be in the hospital, were healthy. You don’t realize how lucky you are you’re healthy.”

This year the giveaway is December 19. If you would like to contribute, drop off an unwrapped gift at one of the following location on or before December 16.

LaSorsa Auto Group, 3510 Webster Avenue
BESO Lounge, 320 East 204th Street
Drug Rite, 3432 Jerome Avenue
Leroy Pharmacy, 358 East 204th Street
LeMED Pharmacy, 159 East Gun Hill Road
MAS Inc., 3602 E Tremont Ave, Suite 206

For more information, visit the Facebook event here.