Kohl's donates $23,000 to Children's Hospital trauma unit

The money will be used to buy an education van.
Jefferson City Kohl's store manager Holly Stump holds a ceremonial check as Columbia store manager Nathen Collins talks about the history of the Kohl's Cares for Kids program. The Jefferson City and Columbia stores raised $22,910 for Children's Hospital through the sale of special merchandise.

Kohl's department store donated nearly $23,000 to a University Hospital program aimed at reducing the number of traumatic injuries to children through education in a ceremony Tuesday morning at University Hospital.

Through its Kohl's Cares for Kids program, the retail chain paid for a specially equipped van to store educational materials for the hospital's Safe Kids Columbia initiative. Safe Kids Columbia visits public schools and health events to teach children how to prevent traumatic injuries.

Anita Larsen, the interim Chief Operating officer and Chief Nurse executive of University of Missouri Health Care, said the donation would increase the hospital's positive impact in Columbia and surrounding cities.

"We greatly appreciate Kohl's support which allows us to continue to expand the safety education we offer to our surrounding communities," Larsen said. "By building public awareness, we are making a difference in the community that we serve."

Lezlie Dahlke, UM Health Care Trauma Outreach coordinator, said the program would bring attention to simple safety approaches, such as teaching kids to use bicycle helmets or parents to use car seats.

"There is a lot of satisfaction in caring for critical care patients, but there are many tragedies as well," Dahlke said. "If I can, as the injury prevention coordinator, provide training and education throughout the mid-Missouri area to children and families that is our goal."

General Surgery Vice Chief Steven Barnes said the program had previously required volunteers to carry the materials in their own car. He said the purchase of the van would give Safe Kids Columbia a statewide reach, as opposed to a regional one, helping further reduce the hospital's number of young patients.

"As central Missouri's only level-one trauma center, we see the results of unintentional injury to children on a daily basis," said Barnes, who also directs the hospital's acute surgery program. "It is our goal to expand our prevention and outreach programs so that we can reduce the number of injured children we need to care for."

Local Kohl's store manager Nathen Collins and Jefferson City store manager Holly Stump presented the stores' donation to hospital officials.

Wisconsin-based Kohl's created the Cares for Kids program in 2000 to raise funds for local programs aimed at educating and improving health of children, Stump said. She said the program has given about $115 million to 153 children's hospitals in the last seven years.

Stump said the money for the donation was raised through the sale of specially marked Kohl's Cares for Kids merchandise at the Columbia and Jefferson City stores. The net profits of those items are donated annually to health and educational programs, such as Safe Kids Columbia.

Collins said the stores would also contribute workers to Safe Kids Columbia as part of Kohl's A-Team initiative. Through the A-Team, all Kohl's sales associates are required to donate three hours per year to such community programs.

He said the two stores have donated nearly $40,000 to University Hospital since 2006, with this donation being the largest.

"The more Kohl's Cares for Kids merchandise we sell, the bigger the grant will be next year," Collins said. "We're very happy to announce our partnership with the University of Missouri Children's Hospital."

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