The fourth annual Team Jake toy drive, benefiting Children’s Hospital of Michigan, is in full swing and runs until Tuesday, Jan. 31. The drive takes place in honor of Jake Pennar, who at age 9 lost his battle with a rare brain tumor in January 2021. Several toys already have been donated to the drive, which began Dec. 31.

“Our son, Jake Pennar, began the toy drive in 2019, as a way to bring joy to children in the hospital,” said Amy Pennar, of Grosse Pointe Woods. “Jake battled brain cancer for nearly three years at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan and knew the real difficulties of spending a lot of time at the hospital.

For children, a toy is a pathway out of the confines of a hospital room and scary medical procedures, back into childhood. A toy is enough to give a child the courage to endure another test, poke or night inpatient.

The tremendous reach of the toy drive goes well beyond the act of giving and receiving. It allows children a sense of normalcy amidst difficulty.”

Photo courtesy of Amy Pennar

Following Jake’s death, his sister, Stacey, began spearheading the toy drive. Last year, 3,221 toys were collected.

“Stacey declared this year’s goal as 4,021 toys,” Pennar added. “All new toys are welcome, but LEGOs are a real favorite across the hospital. … It truly is an amazing cause and helps so many children.”
Pennar noted two exceptions for donations: Stuffed animals and weapons will not be accepted.

Donations are being collected off at two community drop-off locations: Grace Community Church, 21001 Moross, Detroit; and Whistle Stop Hobby & Toy, 21714 Harper, St. Clair Shores.

Customers who purchase toys for the drive at Whistle Stop will receive a 20 percent discount. Donors also may purchase items from the Team Jake Amazon Wishlist, from which items are sent directly to Team Jake.

Visit the Amazon Wishlist by scanning the QR code below with a smartphone.

By: Jody McVeigh