Way to go: Raymond Mohler Jr., Lynbrook
Raymond Mohler Jr. is no stranger to giving.
The eighth-grader at Lynbrook South Middle School and his family have distributed more than $250,000 worth of toys and entertainment centers to local hospitals -- ranging from South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside to St. Mary's Hospital Brooklyn -- since he founded the Little Saint Nick Foundation in 2003.
The effort began when Mohler was diagnosed with a rare hip disease at age 4 and spent time at what then was called Schneider Children's Hospital, now Cohen Children's Medical Center, in New Hyde Park.
"I had nothing to do and nothing to play with," he said of his brief hospital stay. "Giving back just felt like the right thing for me to be doing."
Mohler, 14, collects toys by setting up donation bins at 15 local schools and businesses each fall and raises money to buy toys through an annual golf fundraiser at The Woodmere Club. The foundation then hosts a "Day of Gift Giving" in December and asks schools to invite families in need to select toys.
Mohler was recently named Lynbrook's 2011 Humanitarian of the Year for his efforts. He also is 2012 winner of the Lynbrook school district's Prudential Spirit of Community Award.
"Raymond exudes character, and it is infectious," said Margaret Ronai, principal of Lynbrook South Middle School.