Community, firefighters help stock Santa Store at Providence Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital

There was a shortage of ‘dad’ gifts at Providence Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital’s Santa Store Friday and the community stepped up to stock it.

Sacred Heart reached out to 4 News Now, and we reached out to our viewers. It was the Spokane Firefighters that came to the rescue, again.

The Santa Store is for pediatric patients to shop, at no cost, for a gift for their family members. The store has plenty of gifts for moms and siblings, but needed more donations of gifts for dads.

Standing in front of a table full of toys, 15-year-old Chase Yaggi contemplated on what he should pick.

“The variety was overwhelming, when I first walked in, it was like ‘Wow,'” Yaggi told 4 News Now.

All the toys and other items were given to the hospital from the community, so kids like Chase can pick out and give to their families.

“This is my first time shopping here and, so far, it’s fabulous,” he said.

Chase knows all too well about not being home from the holidays.

“As a lot of these kids, I’ve been in their shoes and everything, and having to stay in the hospital for really, really long and it really affects them,” he said.

This Christmas, Chase gets to be home, but he will back the following Friday for treatment for a brain tumor.

“I was diagnosed when I was 8 with a hypothalamic glioma,” he explained. “That is something that affects the brain, growth and vision as well. It mainly grows on the optic nerve and it really affects the growth and sight a lot.”

He’s seen better days, and Friday was his chance to shop and give back to his family.

“It’s fabulous for me because it’s something to do, because I’ve been behind on Christmas shopping,” he said.

Kids shopped with a volunteer “elf” and picked out whatever they wanted. The hospital has been running the store for kids for more than a decade now. Five years ago, kids asked the hospital to offer some adult items so they can give back to their families.

“Our children started saying ‘My mom and dad have made so many sacrifices, is there anything here for my mom and dad? I want to get them a nice present for them for Christmas,'” explained Mary Savage, a philanthropy officer at Sacred Heart.

The store was running low on gifts for dads on its second day of being open. Like the heroes they are, Spokane County Fire District 8 donated some items to the store.

“That’s the fire department, he might love that,” Chase’s helper told him, as Chase was looking through some shirts the fire department dropped off.

Dawn Yaggi, Chase’s mother, said the store is a way for him to have some “ownership.”

“It gives him some control over something today by sharing, and being able to provide something for his family when everybody’s doing stuff with him, and when he’s here at the hospital,” she said.

Her son enjoys the people who work at the hospital, as he’s been in and out for the last five years or so.

“This gives him a little bit, a little bit of extra something to share with others,” Dawn said. “He’s the type of young man that likes to give back. Chase has always been that way. For them to be providing that for these kids is amazing.”

Once the kids pick out gifts for their families, they get help getting the gifts wrapped as well.

“I believe in magic and the power of the human spirit and making sure they think about others during the holiday season. They are truly making a very special christmas for our children,” Savage said.

When they close the store, volunteers will take some more items and put them into stockings to give to kids on Christmas morning.

While the store is only open for two days for kids to shop, the hospital does take donations year-round. You can visit Providence’s website if you feel moved to donate or volunteer.