When the emergency room bill came for Joe Molina Jr. after he ended up in the hospital shortly after graduating from high school, he didn’t know what to do.
He was off of his father’s insurance, and as a full-time student with no job he could not afford to pay the $12,000 bill.
So at the urging of a billing department specialist, he wrote a letter to the Shriner’s and explained his situation to see if they could do anything to help him – never expecting to hear anything back but knowing that it was worth a chance.
They paid the entire tab.
Now, as he approaches his 35th birthday, Molina wants to say thank you to the organization that aims to provide medical assistance to young people by hosting a toy drive today at the corner of Union Road and Atherton Drive that will benefit Shriner’s Children’s Hospital of Northern California in Sacramento.
“When I got that letter back from them and I opened it and saw what it said, I was completely dumbfounded – I started crying,” he said. “You don’t expect people to be nice to you randomly, and if it wasn’t for that lady suggesting that I try this I would have been stuck paying that bill for a quite a few years.
“Not too long ago I saw a commercial for the Shriner’s and it got to remember what they were able to do for me so I thought that instead of birthday gifts this year my family could donate toys instead and the idea kind of went from there. They told me that they get a lot of toys during the holidays, but this will be a chance to give something to them when they need it the most.”
From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Molina – as a member of the Manteca Police and Fire Radio Group – will be at the corner of Union Road and Atherton Drive near the Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley sign collecting new, unopened toys for any age range and gender. New teddy bears, he said, are something that the organization told him are always appreciated.
Since deciding to do this he’s gone so far as to print out flyers and visit Manteca businesses to try and raise awareness and get as many people as possible to participate.
“The response from people has been overwhelmingly positive, and a lot of people want to know how they can get involved and what they can do to help,” he said. “I’m hoping that by reaching out with fliers and the business support that we get a lot of people to come down and it really makes the difference for a kid who ends up having to stay in the hospital.”
The address of the donation site, for those using GPS, is 19790 S. Union Road.