“It was a big reminder of what my husband and I were both taught,” Tracey recalls. “Service has to be your bottom line and if it isn’t nothing really matters.”
Although Tracey’s daughter Ava Grace was “born perfectly healthy” and her own health was “back to normal four months later,” Tracey explains, “my husband and I said and 'we can’t move on without giving back to the community.'”
That desire to give back turned into an annual holiday toy drive to benefit pediatric patients at Lehigh Valley Hospital.
But the event is much more than a donation drive. Each year the Saab’s open their home up to the community for a special holiday open house where their friends and neighbors can enjoy a cup of hot cocoa and various treats and just spend time together in the spirit of the season.
“I love my house filled with laughter and people at the holidays,” says Tracey who gave birth to a baby boy Oct. 1. “It’s very exciting.” The Saabs expect anywhere from 100 to 150 people at this year's open house.
Donations of new unwrapped gifts for children ages 0 to 18 are encouraged and gifts like books, arts and crafts or even hats and gloves are always appreciated Tracey says.
The items the Saabs collect will be distributed to the LVH inpatient facility at Cedar Crest Boulevard, the LVH specialty unit at Cedar Crest and the clinic at 17th Street.
The past few years the drive has collected about $10,000 worth of toys, says Tracey, who can’t see her family ever giving it up.
“We are going to do it until we can’t any more,” Tracey says. “It is our seventh year, and it is amazing.
“Our daughter wakes up and says ‘happy toy drive day mommy’ and we just couldn’t imagine the holidays without it. It reminds us of what the holiday season is all about.”
The Saab’s invite one and all to stop by the open house on Saturday:
- Date: Dec. 7, 2013
- Time: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Place: 2503 Ludwig Court, Macungie.