Park City student’s efforts aid hospital
For three years, Griff Riggs has gathered clothing, toy donations for patients at Park City Hospital
When Griff Riggs was 12, he wanted to be a junior volunteer at the Park City Hospital like his older brother. There was just one problem: He wasn’t old enough.
Undeterred, he searched for another way to pitch in. He began seeking clothing donations from the community for trauma victims whose clothes were ruined due to their injuries or because hospital staff had to cut them off during treatment. He also gathered toys and coloring books from local businesses for children who were either patients at the hospital or visiting loved ones there.
The initial success of Riggs’ efforts was encouraging. And more than three years later, Riggs, now 15 and a student at Park City High School, is still working on the project, providing goods for the hospital throughout the year. He said it’s become an important part of his life and a perfect way to help others.
“Originally, I was going to do this until I was old enough to be a junior volunteer,” he said. “But I figured out that this fits much better with my schedule. … I decided to keep going with this, and I kept going to more and more businesses to get help.”
Amy Roberts, a spokeswoman for the Park City Hospital, said in an email statement that Riggs’ contributions have made a difference in the lives of many patients.
“Park City Hospital is grateful for Griff’s generosity and selflessness,” she said. “Many of our patients have benefitted from his efforts. It’s heartwarming to see someone so young work so hard to bring joy to others. Griff is an example for us all!”
For all the project’s success, Riggs said he has had to work diligently to keep it going. He has a busy after-school schedule because he plays sports and holds a part-time job, and gathering the donations has required persistence. At the same time, he’s been overwhelmed by the people who have been willing to help along the way.
Countless residents have given clothes, and he’s also received donations from stores such as Smith’s, J.W. Allen & Sons Toys & Candy and Staples. Even Sage Kotsenburg, an Olympic gold medalist snowboarder who lives in Riggs’ neighborhood, has contributed to the effort, Riggs said.
“It’s been great,” said Riggs, who is in the Park City High School National Honor Society. “It’s just awesome how much everyone is willing to do. They are willing to donate lots of stuff for these kids (and patients). I’ve gotten a lot of donations from going to people’s houses.”
Jim MacDonald is one community member who has pitched in. He is the store director at the Smith’s grocery store in Kimball Junction and donated a cartload of goods this holiday season. He said that, beyond his company’s philanthropic philosophy, he decided to participate because of Riggs’ clear dedication.
“He had the nerve and audacity to come up and ask in a busy season,” he said. “… He just came up to me and said, ‘Can you donate?’ If it wasn’t for him, we wouldn’t have done it.”
Residents who wish to donate clothing can contact Riggs at 435-655-0587. The clothing should be loose-fitting and comfortable, such as sweatshirts, sweatpants or button-up shirts.
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The Park City Board of Education is on track to place a bond on the ballot this fall to improve district facilities. The top priorities would be to put ninth grade in the high school, eighth grade in the middle school and to augment preschool offerings by expanding elementary schools.