DuPage Children's Museum, West Suburban Community Pantry partner on Summer Toy Drive
As families across the country scramble to find ways to occupy their children for summer during the COVID-19 pandemic, families in need who already find themselves struggling to provide food and shelter for their children are doubly challenged when it comes to providing safe and productive ways to engage them.
Now DuPage Children's Museum and West Suburban Community Pantry are partnering to collect summer toys for area families in need.
Donations of new summer toys will be collected at the Toy Drive on Wednesday, July 15, from 8-11 a.m. and 5-7 p.m. in the museum parking lot, 301 N. Washington St. in Naperville.
The museum's Explorer Store will have toys and toy bundles for a variety of ages and interests for sale on-site, or donors may bring new summer toys for children ages 0-10, including water toys, bubbles and bubble wands, children's garden tools, bug collection kits, flying disks, kites, sidewalk chalk or kids sidewalk paint, washable markers. For more information on the Explorer Store, visit dupagechildrens.org/visit/explorer-store.
"DCM values creativity, curiosity, community and collaboration. This is the second time since shutdown that we have been able to express our values by supporting the children and families served by WSCP," says Julie Carlsen, Chief of Creativity and Strategic Communications for the museum.
"While both events have provided toys for children, DuPage Children's Museum is so much more than fun and games. We respect all children and their ability to learn. We know that the power of play is a basis for constructing knowledge and building skills that will serve children now and as they continue to learn and grow," Carlsen said. "We understand and value the importance of the child-adult learning partnership. Developmental toys, interactive play, and facilitated learning experiences create joy, inspire curiosity, and promote healthy childhood development.
"We are thrilled that this Toy Drive will connect DCM resources with children and parents who need our support at this time," she adds.
As a thank you, donors to the Toy Drive will receive the DuPage Children's Museum's suggestions for ways to engage children in creative play as well as links to the museum's virtual programming. Toys distributed to client families at West Suburban Community Pantry also will include the suggestions.
"We have seen a huge jump in the number of families seeking support from the pantry since the pandemic began," says Pantry Executive Director Laura Traut-Coyle. "Families, who are suddenly out of work, struggling to receive unemployment benefits, are dealing with enormous stresses at this time. Providing quality play time and appropriate toys for their children can be an additional stressor. We know all parents understand the critical value of healthy play, so we are appealing to the community to help support these parents at this difficult time. We are so grateful to the museum for leading the way."
Donors are asked to enter the museum campus from Washington Street, where volunteers will direct them through the donation area. Please wear a mask to shop at The Explorer Store tent. The museum building is currently closed. For more information on the museum, visit dupagechildrens.org.
West Suburban Community Pantry serves Woodridge, Bolingbrook, Lisle, Naperville, Downers Grove, Darien, Willowbrook, Westmont and Romeoville. The Pantry also helps support clients of Bridge Communities and DuPage PADS. For more information visit www.wscpantry.org.