SOMERS POINT — Wyatt Hopkins holds a special place in the hearts of so many in his hometown where he is remembered with a memorial butterfly garden at the New York Avenue School.
Wyatt was just a week shy of his fifth birthday when he died unexpectedly in November 2017. His parents, Desiree and Robert Hopkins were understandably dreading the anniversary of Wyatt’s passing and the holidays ahead. They were trying to come up with a way to keep their thoughts occupied and help others in Wyatt’s name.
The Hopkins invited some friends and family to join them at their home on Wyatt’s birthday, Nov. 8. The guests were asked to bring a toy that would be given to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Robert Hopkins explained that the large blue box he had made for everyone to put their toy in was quickly filled. Other friends as well as family from as far away as Florida and Indiana sent toys and that one blue box (because Wyatt’s favorite color was blue) became boxes.
The overwhelming response spurred the Hopkins to expand Wyatt’s toy collection. They reached out to more than a dozen locations around the county where people may donate an unwrapped toy. Robert Hopkins said he and his wife will be delivering the toys to CHOP at the end of the toy drive, which runs through Dec. 17.
When they contacted CHOP about the Wyatt Hopkins Blue Christmas Toy Drive the Hopkins learned the hospital has an ongoing need for new toys, craft supplies, books, video games and movies for kids, infants to adolescents. So, the toy drive will help those boys and girls who need some extra cheer not only through the holidays, but during their stay at CHOP.
Asked if Wyatt would give his thumbs up approval of the toy drive, Robert Hopkins said, “Wyatt would have loved this. He was a little guy who was an old soul at heart. He loved to see others happy and even at his young age, he was a giver. It made him happy to give to others. In his honor, this toy drive is perfect.”
The Hopkins say they want to make Wyatt’s Toy Drive an annual event and hope to be able to donate toys to the patients at St. Jude’s Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, to help bring a smile to boys and girls who are struggling serious health issues.
The Wyatt Hopkins Blue Toy Drive runs through Dec. 17. People may drop the toys at the Hopkins home; email WyattStrong@yahoo.com for drop off info.
Other drop-off points:
• Clancy’s by the Bay: 101 E. Maryland Ave., Somers Point
• Shore True Value Hardware: 515 New Road, Somers Point
• Atlantic City Country Club: 1 Leo Fraser Drive, Northfield
• Somers Point schools at Dawes Avenue, Jordan Road and New York Avenue
• The Hair Lounge at Studio 21 Beauty Bar: 23 Central Ave., Hammonton
• Power Athletic: 189 White Horse Pike, Atco
• Mid Atlantic Baseball Academy: 2512 Egg Harbor Road. Lindenwold
• The Library II Restaurant: 306 Highway 73, Voorhees
• Penn Medicine: 1865 Route 70 East, Cherry Hill
• Coastal Spine, Dr. Lawrence Deutsch: 4000 Church Road, Mount Laurel
• Finish Line Auto Salon: 1562 Route 38, Lumberton
• Penn Ortho: Weightman Hall in University City, first floor, 235 S. 33rd St,. Philadelphia
• Homegrown Coffee and Creations: Mole and Porter Streets, South Philadelphia