Valley Oak Donates $1,500 to Tulare Hospital Foundation Toy Drive

Tulare Hospital Foundation Board Member Brian Kallio, Valley Oak Credit Union Executive Vice President Kiersty Vaughan, Tulare Hospital Foundation Executive Director Jan Smith, Tulare Hospital Foundation Board President Patricia Hitlin, Valley Oak Tulare Branch Manager Melerie Vasquez, and Valley Oak Visalia Branch Manager Veronica Aguayo at the Tulare Hospital Foundation office on Tuesday. Valley Oak officials donated $1,500 to the Tulare Hospital Foundation’s toy drive for laid off TRMC employees. Tony Maldonado/Valley Voice

The Tulare Hospital Foundation has received a large boost in its effort to provide toys to the children of unemployed Tulare Regional Medical Center employees.

The foundation got the help from Valley Oak Credit Union, whose representatives today awarded the group a $1,500 check.

Each year, the credit union gives its members the opportunity to skip a loan payment in the months of November or December for a fee. Valley Oak then donates a portion of those proceeds each year to a charitable cause.

This year, the credit union donated to the toy drive, which will provide Christmas toys for Tulare Regional Medical Center employees out of work while the hospital’s operations are suspended.

Members of Valley Oak’s leadership staff met with volunteers from the Tulare Hospital Foundation, including executive director Jan Smith, to present the donation.

“We really want to support Tulare this year, and we thought this was the perfect cause,” Valley Oak Executive Vice President Kiersty Vaughan said.

Smith said the community had “stepped up big time,” and thanked Valley Oak — and the community — for their donations.

Jan Smith, Executive Director of the Tulare Hospital Foundations, speaks to members of the foundation and Valley Oak Credit Union about the foundation’s toy drive. Tony Maldonado/Valley Voice

Smith shared one story — a man who saw the news of the hospital’s closure, and the toy drive, on a local news broadcast.

“He said his wife looked over to him — she had tears in her eyes, and she said ‘Honey, we have to do something,’” Smith said.

“He lifts this Honda SUV liftgate up, and it’s packed with toys — and I was just like, ‘Oh my gosh!’” she said.

So far, she said, the foundation has received over 400 gifts — and, with the addition of Valley Oak’s donation, up to $4,000 in monetary donations to use towards toy purchases.

“With Tulare Strong, our Tulare Strong campaign — it has brought the community together, and this toy drive has been nothing short of amazing,” Smith said.

There is still time to donate to the fundraiser — the donation period closes December 18. Those interested in donating can do so at the Tulare Hospital Foundation office, Details Party Rentals, Tulare’s Heritage Complex, or the hospital’s Allied Building.

The foundation is accepting both monetary donations and unwrapped toys.

Employees will be able to pick a gift for their child on 8am December 20th at Tulare Regional Medical Center.

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