From left, Morgan and Marissa Mandel and Ashley Kalb, all...

From left, Morgan and Marissa Mandel and Ashley Kalb, all students at Half Hollow Hills High School West in Dix Hills, have raised more than $8,000 in gift cards and collected 5,000 pairs of pajamas in the past five years for hospitalized children. Credit: Hilary Kalb

Three students from Half Hollow Hills High School West in Dix Hills have been brightening the hospital experience for sick children across Long Island.

Ashley Kalb and sisters Morgan and Marissa Mandel have collected nearly $10,000 in holiday gift cards as well as 5,000 pairs of pajamas in recent years through their nonprofit Teen Promise. The donations go to such places such as NYU Winthrop Hospital, Cohen Children's Medical Center and Stony Brook Children's Hospital.

To collect the items, the girls placed bins in all nine schools of the Half Hollow Hills Central School District. Most recently, they collected $1,500 in gift cards last month for such retailers as Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Target.

"I thought it was really important to do something for people our age, because most of the collections during the holidays are geared toward toys for younger children," said Ashley, 16, a junior.

Said Morgan, 16, a junior, "Seeing kids' reactions and knowing how much we made them happy and more comfortable in their hospital environment, we feel good about everything,"

"When we first started it and I actually saw how happy it made them, it made me feel good about it and want to continue it," said Marissa, 14, a freshman.

— MICHAEL R. EBERT

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