Community: Young philanthropist delivers toys for infants


3926483_origBoy Scout David Marinelli, 17, of Troop 209, is a step closer to achieving the rank of Eagle Scout.

For his community project, the Burbank High School senior delivered 92 crib soothers on Saturday afternoon to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles for infant patients.

Upon arriving with the toys, David was greeted by members of the hospital’s public relations staff who took pictures of him posing with the boxes of toys.

“The toys were really appreciated and I was flattered,” he said. “They gave me a plaque and took a bunch of pictures. Every infant in the hospital had a soother for their crib.”

Earlier in the day, David’s mother, Jean Marinelli, drove him to Mattel Inc. in El Segundo to pick up the toys.

David raised the more than $4,000 to purchase the toys from Mattel at a concert in May featuring his band, the Slightlys, as well as three others. During the concert, he also collected gently used games and toys and donated them to the hospital thrift shop on Saturday.

The inspiration for his Eagle Scout project came from fellow troop member Christopher Wilke, the 12-year-old Boy Scout who passed away after a battle with bile duct cancer. David wanted to do something special for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles because that’s where Christopher had received treatment.

Since his parents both worked during the day, David took the train down to Children’s Hospital and spoke to Wendi Kellaris, volunteer resources manager.

“David took this initiative all on his own… his parents didn’t even know he was talking to me about it until he called and asked for a ride home from Children’s Hospital Los Angeles,” Kellaris said. “They were as thrilled to watch him turn it over to us as we were to accept it. He is a remarkable young man with a very giving heart.”

The hospital is always in need of items for infant patients, and the crib soothers are the No. 1 request, Kellaris said.

“This particular item will soothe a fussy infant, but also offers developmental features which are so important for hospitalized infants,” she added. “Our nurses and Child Life specialists are going to be so thrilled with this donation.”

The most important thing David learned about coordinating his charity project was that everyone benefited.

“I did it to make other people feel good, but it made me feel good as well,” he said.

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