COOS BAY — The Kids’ HOPE Center has been finding creative ways to engage with the community in the midst of COVID-19.
One of those ways has been to provide the community with hygiene/activity bags to local organizations affiliated with children. Since March, the Kids’ HOPE Center has donated over 3,000 of the bags to schools, school districts, youth groups, churches, restaurants and other organizations and individuals to give away to students or children who could use the supplies.
The items for the bags have been purchased using grant money the Kids’ HOPE Center graciously received from Wild Rivers Coast Alliance, The Ford Family Foundation and many private and local contributors. Included in each bag is an array of items for kids, such as toothpaste and toothbrushes, bars of soap, bubbles, activity books, crayons, snacks, toys, juice, chalk, and candy.
Pastor Eric Lindsey of First Presbyterian Church in North Bend has been receiving the bags since the Kids’ HOPE Center starting giving them out. He hands the bags out to children who come with their parents to the church’s food pantry, which has been operating locally for over 40 years.
“The need for the kids in this area to have the kind of resources that allow them to be kids is something that we have seen as a huge benefit from these bags," Lindsey said. "A majority of our clients that come through typically have two to four kids and the ability for us to give them more than just food, but to also give them something that is specifically for the kids is a gift of sorts, almost like a Christmas gift.
Lindsey noted that many of the children of parents who come to the pantry don’t have the same access to food, so while the food is the gift for the parents, the hygiene/activity bags for the kids is “an extra gift that gives the kids something to feel special about and it makes them feel important and valued — something they may not see or hear because they are worried about food.”
The Kids’ HOPE Center plans to continue to disperse the bags throughout Coos County through the end of the summer. The bag donations were a way staff at the Center felt they could continue to contribute to the community in a positive way due to the cancellation of most of the Kids’ HOPE Center’s planned annual activities, such as Pinwheel Planting and Family Fun Day.
“Taking on this project has been very gratifying,” said Sarah Bright, education coordinator at the Kids’ HOPE Center. “I know that parents are stuggling to pay bills and put food on the table, so we hope that being able to supply them with hygiene products, activities and snacks for their children provides a little bit of relief for them. We don’t get to stay around and see most of these handed out, but I can imagine the joy on the kid’s faces when they get a bag of their own to see what’s inside.”
Those who know a school, organization or community group that could use hygiene/activity bags for childiren are asked to contact Bright by phone at 541-269-4196 to inquire about receiving the donated bags.
Questions or additional information about the program can be directed to Bay Area Hospital Communications Coordinator Olivia Alley at 541-267- 1991.
Kids' HOPE Center
The Kids’ HOPE Center supports families and child abuse victims through an all-inclusive program that includes the investigation of abuse allegations from communities throughout Coos County and beyond. Following the “medical model” of abuse investigations, the Kids’ HOPE Center focuses primarily on meeting the whole-health physical and emotional needs of victims.