SDC seeks donations for ‘Re-Wrap’ program
Katie Goldsmith, a former board member of the Shepherdstown Day Care Center, normally cleans house at the end of every year – donating toys and clothes to area organizations.
But four years ago, after seeing how families and even staff members at SDC struggled to make ends meet, Goldsmith rallied other parents together to donate new and gently used items a little closer to home.
Until Dec. 12, the Shepherdstown Day Care Center will be accepting donations of new and gently used toys, clothing and other items for its Re-Wrap program, which allows families and staff members of the day care to “shop” for items during the holiday season.
The day care bases its tuition on a sliding scale, and when Goldsmith saw how important that approach was to allowing families admittance into SDC, she knew she wanted to help out even more.
“It was just very eye opening,” Goldsmith said. “Most of the people were at the bottom end of the scale.”
Heather Thorn, who is now spearheading the Re-Wrap effort, said it seemed that four years ago, when Goldsmith thought up the program, when one or more parents were laid off, children were taken out of day care. And for those with kids still in school, she said, there were concerns about making ends meet.
“When you see the same parents every day they really become more like extended family, and this project evolved as a way to help take some of the stress for the end of the year and holidays away from the parents so the families could spend more time enjoying each other and the holidays,” Thorn said in an email interview.
The way the program works is after donations are made, families on the sliding scale are given “SDC bucks,” or vouchers, Goldsmith said. Where they fall on the scale determines the number of vouchers they receive – if they are on the lower end of the scale, they get more “bucks” to spend.
Goldsmith said the donated items are put at a “nominal” price, so even after families use their vouchers, they can spend actual cash on the items at the Dec. 15 event, which is open exclusively to SDC families and staff.
Goldsmith said over the years, there has been an overwhelming amount of donations, so before the shopping event, they donate items to the the Children’s Home Society’s Safe Haven “Pink House” Child Advocacy Center in Martinsburg.
But the best part for these SDC mothers is the reaction from the families.
“After the event, some of the families were overcome with emotion and thanks as several families had expressed they had no idea how they were going to provide toys for their kids,” Thorn said.
“It’s more work than I ever thought I’d get into,” said Goldsmith, who still lends a helping hand though her daughter has graduated from the center. “But, boy, is it worth it.”
Goldsmith and SDC Director Melissa Holman stress that this is not a fundraiser for the center. And Holman, too, loves to spread Christmas cheer.
“I truly believe that it’s an awesome, awesome feeling to be able to give our babies the toys they want for Christmas.”
Items the community can donate are gently used toys, books, videos, coats. Thorn asks that these items be in working order since they are intended to be given as gifts. New toiletries are acceptable, as well. Donations are to be taken to the SDC, East German Street, until Dec. 12. For more information, contact Thorn at 304-728-9588.
“I love the idea of another child enjoying the same things our daughter did and maybe even passing along to someone else,” Thorn said. “I really like that our daughter, who is only 4, has a sense of wanting to share her toys that she has outgrown with littler friends at the day care.”
“That day care’s a really special place,” Goldsmith said. “It provides a homelike atmosphere that you don’t find at other places.”