Giggles, laughs and smiles filled a waiting room at Orthopaedic Institute for Children (OIC) in Los Angeles, as a colorful Jester & Pharley Smile Care delivered Jester books and dolls into the hands of young patients.
Packed with The Jester Has Lost His Jingle books, Jester & Pharley Dolls and media equipment, the Smile Cart is a generous family donation in memory of Deirdre Montgomerie, a longtime South Bay librarian.
To celebrate their gift, the Montgomerie family and friends gathered in the Orthopaedic Institute’s clinic waiting room surrounded by young patients in casts and braces and their parents. Barbara Saltzman, the mother of Jester author David Saltzman, joyfully read his whimsical story to the crowd.
Barbara turned the pages, the magic of the story took hold and the OIC children were soon laughing and hugging The Jester & Pharley Dolls and books given to them during the dedication. The donation marks the 49th Jester & Pharley Smile Cart cheering up children across the country.
“The joy from this Jester & Pharley Smile Cart is going to be given over and over to our children,” said Mary Beth Perrine, Senior Director of Community Outreach. “Every book, every doll will be well loved.”
Volunteers will roll the Smile Cart into clinic and urgent care waiting rooms, where they will read the Jester story about the importance of never giving up and give the Jester books and dolls to patients. The carts also carry audio-visual equipment so that children can watch DVDs to help pass the time. The Montgomerie family gift includes 150 Jester books, 150 dolls and 150 bookmarks, plus Jester & Pharley PhunBooks filled with creative activities.
“When a child and their parents come to the urgent care center, it’s not their best day. Kids are in pain, their parents are stressed,” explained Danielle Barrios, Assistant Director of Volunteer Services. “The Smile Cart will help lessen their anxiety. Instead of thinking about the pain, they will have a sense of comfort.”
OIC has worked in partnership with The Jester & Pharley Phund and the USC Good Neighbors Campaign in a community-wide effort that has brought hundreds of award-winning Jester Has Lost His Jingle books to pediatric patients. USC supports Jester Read-a-Thons at local elementary schools, where student reading generates the donation of Jester books and dolls to OIC.
“Hundreds of children will now have reason to break into smiles,” Barbara Saltzman said with gratitude to the Montgomerie family.