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Family lounges at Oishei Children's Hospital: more than just places for snacks

Posted at 5:54 PM, May 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-09 17:55:09-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Mary Friona-Celani's office and kitchen area are covered in boxes of food and snacks, at least once every three weeks.

That's how often she delivers those boxes to Oishei Children's Hospital. The donated food goes to five parent/patient lounges at the hospital.

She said the need is so high that pantries are often emptied pretty quickly.

"We can always use more food. We do get a lot but we could always use more food," she said.

The mother of four said she knows what parents and their children go through when staying in a hospital for long time.

"My daughter, nine years ago, was in the hospital for six months. So I know what those lounges mean," she said. "I know a simple snack, a simple mac and cheese or something to go really does make a difference."

The founder of the blog Totally Buffalo said she decided to start a charity called Hope for the Holidays.

The first mission was to put together Valentine's Day care packages for oncology patients at Oishei in February. She said that's when she talked to hospital staff about what they needed.

"I made an amazon wishlist, and I put it out there with some photos of the empty cupboard," she said.

And ever since February, people have been buying food for the lounges.

With Mother's Day coming up this weekend, Friona-Celani already has care packages for moms ready to be delivered.

"We have a book mark, we have lotion, nail polish, chocolate roses," she said.

If there's ever too much food, it's never a problem. The extra treats find a home at the Ronald McDonald house.