The Hospital Maintenance Department has worked tirelessly for almost three decades to ensure children in UAB Hospital -awaiting a transplant, fighting cancer or seeking treatment for some other disease - still experience the joys of the holidays.

Organizers of the 29th annual Christmas Toy Fund are looking for support from Santa's elves among UAB employees and friends by Friday, Dec. 10 to help ensure this Christmas is extra special for these children and their families.

In addition to providing gifts to hospitalized children, the toy drive helps fill the toy chest in the playroom on 5 North, says Jane Love, director of the Child Life Program. Love and her staff help reduce the stress experienced by hundreds of children and families each year and help them cope with potentially traumatic situations.

"Hospital Maintenance really keeps the program going for our children," Love says. "We couldn't do the kind of things we do and give the kind of care we give the children and their families without their help."

To donate to the Christmas Toy Fund, send a check payable to the UAB Maintenance Pediatric Toy Fund, 619 19th St. South, Room S036, Birmingham AL 35294. For more information, contact Doug Williams at 934-6181 or Tabatha Issac at 934-5430.

The Christmas Toy Fund celebration, which is open to all UAB employees, will be held at 11 a.m. Dec. 16 in the North Pavilion second floor atrium. The Hospital Heartbeats will be performing, Santa will make an appearance and refreshments will be served.

"This is an event that we absolutely love to do," says Williams, an electrician who is directing the efforts for the ninth year. "We look forward to hosting this event for the children and their families. It's truly a highlight of the year for us."