Regions Delivers ‘Miles of Smiles’

Children at 21 different hospitals get fidget toys for the holidays.
Jan 11, 2024 11:30 AM ET

Toting green sacks, Regions’ market executives and associates delivered thousands of fidget toys this month to 21 different children’s hospitals.

Regions called the 2023 holiday donations of the pyramid-shaped toys “Miles of Smiles.”

Kevin Crateau of Regions Corporate Marketing said the toy gifts were another way for local associates to support communities where the bank opened new branches.

Regions associates delivered the toys Dec. 4-12 – donating 7,700 to children at hospitals in 10 states across the Southeast and Midwest.

“We were looking for a way to be part of the season of giving and thought these ‘Miles of Smiles’ donations of fidget toys aligned well with Regions’ mission to make life better and our values of putting people first and helping people enjoy life,” Crateau said. “Working with incredible healthcare partners, we sought to lift spirits and bring smiles.”

For Courtney Lyon, a child life specialist at Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis, the Regions gifts she distributed arrived on the perfect day.

It was Lyon’s birthday and discharge day for one of her longtime patients, Baylee Green. Her Regions guests (Indianapolis Commercial Banking Leader and Market Executive Erik Miner, Schiela Pena of Community Relations and Kim Borges of Corporate Communications) got to meet Baylee too.

“I love getting to see how our community is supporting our hospital, our patients, and our staff,” Lyon said. “We are so lucky to have such amazing donors who really go above and beyond for our patients and families every day!

“My favorite part was how amazing the team at Regions was with our patient up in the unit. They were personable, funny, and Baylee felt so valued and appreciated!”

In addition to the fun factor of the toys and surprise visits that can make hospital stays feel more normal, Lyon said fidget toys have many therapeutic benefits.

“When patients need to keep their hands occupied or are feeling a little overwhelmed or stressed, we can give them one of these toys,” she said. “That helps keep their mind and hands busy while our nurses and care team can focus on the task at hand, which could be a blood draw, placing an IV, or other procedure.”

Kelsey Lee, an occupational therapist at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, agreed and said the donated fidget toys are a great complement to its mission of helping patients recover from spinal cord and brain injuries.

“We are always looking for more fine-motor and hand-strengthening activities for our patients who have goals for strengthening their hands,” Lee said.  “They will also be a great tool for our adolescent team to use with patients who have full function in their hands to be able to fidget with while we are talking about spinal cord injury education or learning new skills.”

For the Regions associates who participated, delivering the toys and ‘miles of smiles’ was a grounding and meaningful holiday experience.

“Participating in events dedicated to giving back and donating toys for children in hospitals is a testament to the boundless capacity of human kindness,” said Consumer Banking Manager Teresa Diaz who visited Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami with four other associates.

“It’s an investment in hope, joy and the promise of brighter tomorrows for those who need it most.”

Regions’ toy delivery to Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital in St. Louis had a particularly special meaning for Kurt Matlock, who manages the bank’s branch in nearby Manchester.

When he heard about the upcoming Miles of Smiles donation, Matlock put in a special request to join St. Louis Commercial Banking Leader and Market Executive Scott Hartwig for the donation dropoff. “My first son had open heart surgery at Cardinal Glennon when he was seven days old,” Matlock said. “It was great to get the chance to be part of the effort helping children just like him and a healthcare team and hospital that means so much to our family.”

Watch the reel on Regions Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook.