DENVER (CBS4) – The David & Laura Merage Foundation is giving back to kids of frontline health care workers. On Thursday, the foundation delivered 500 custom boxes of Timbuk Toys to Saint Joseph Hospital and Denver Health.
The Merages have supported early childhood education programs in Colorado for the past 18 years. They founded the David & Laura Merage Foundation in 2002 after selling Chef America, the creator of Hot Pockets©, to Nestlé in 2002.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, they launched The Merage Mini Heroes Program to bring some joy to children of health care professionals who are putting in long hours away from their families.
“At Saint Joseph Hospital, our caregivers have dedicated themselves to keeping our community safe during this public health crisis. They’ve made sacrifices to do so,” said Leslie McKay, Executive Director of Saint Joseph Hospital Foundation. “We are so appreciative the David and Laura Merage Foundation recognizes the children, the mini heroes, behind our caregivers. These young children are sharing their parents to protect Colorado. The donation of toy boxes will enrich families and reward those on the frontline. We are so grateful for their consideration and responsiveness.”
The program is unique to Denver, but the Merages hope that it inspired others to replicate it around the globe.
“These children are living a life they couldn’t have imagined, and the implications on their mental health are profound,” said Merage Foundation Vice President Sue Renner. “Our intention is to spark a bit of joy with these toys, and quite simply show these little ones how grateful we are that they are sharing their families with Coloradans in need.”
Merage Mini Heroes specialty toys were purchased from Timbuk Toys, a local, independent Denver business founded in 1993 that now has four stores in the Metro Denver area. Timbuk Toys staff were eager to put together the boxes over the weekend, as they share a passion for children and giving back to the community.
Timbuk Toys has, so far, been able to keep its entire staff employed during the pandemic. The Mini Heroes program utilizes only local business, including the printing services and materials.