KITCHENER -- A simple sack of small toys has helped put hundreds of children at ease when getting swabbed for COVID-19 in Cambridge.

“A bag of treasures for the kids that come in who are scared and nervous,” said Brenda Parrot, nurse at the Cambridge Memorial Hospital.

At the start of the pandemic, nurse Parrot was present when the first child was swabbed at the Cambridge North Dumfries COVID-19 Assessment Centre.

“It was just scary for us. It was a little girl and I went through the hospital looking for a popsicle actually to give her,” said Parrot.

Following that experience, Parrot came up with the idea for the Brave Bag.

“It was such a nice thing we could do for children and her idea just really took off,” said Julia Ropotyn, coordinator at the Cambridge North Dumfries COVID-19 Assessment Centre.

Parrot, who is also an operating room nurse at Cambridge Memorial Hospital, says they do something similar for children undergoing surgery. The bag has now become part of a fun game that the staff play with children who come in for a test.

“We do this little bit where we are going to swap boogers for treats and that's kind of what we do,” said Parrot.

And the bag has grown bigger, to a closet full of toys.

“A lot of staff started to donate as well and then she took this out further to social media and to our volunteer association to get the community involved as well,” said Ropotyn.

The Brave Bag going beyond the testing site and making the community feel stronger together.

“The virus is a storm and this is our rainbow,” explained Parrot.