Helping the whole child – why EBC puts toys and books into each Big Bundle
The Big Bundle, one of the most popular items ordered from EBC, is a clothing bundle that contains a week’s worth of clothing, shoes, toothbrush and toothpaste, toys and books. Each is tailor made for the child who will receive it, taking their unique situation, and requests into account.
Because the EBC mission is to give kids the basics they need (like food and clothing), we are often asked why we include a toy and a book in the bundles. Kids don’t NEED these items, do they?
We believe they do. We believe that in order for a child to truly thrive, we have to help the WHOLE child, making sure their emotional, as well as physical, needs are met.
Toys: Play is the work of children. When a child is living in poverty or crisis, what better way is there for them to feel a little closer to normal than being able to play with toys? Through play, kids learn to manage relationships, stimulate their imagination, and work through situations that trouble them.
You, our generous community of supporters, have made giving toys to children, well, child’s play, thanks to your continuous donation of new and gently used toys. Your gently used toys are what – most often – go into the Big Bundles. New toys are generally reserved for birthday kits. Birthday kits are provided for children when their parents cannot afford a gift to make their child’s birthday special.
You can get a few more details about the items we accept (as well as toy-specific information) on our website – basically, we take most toys in good condition, but not large toys as they can’t be easily transported or used in small living spaces. Toys are also a fun thing to collect at an event or drive.
We would be remiss if we were to discuss toy donations and not mention our toy donors Rick’s Toys for Kids and K.I.D.S., as well as our partners, the Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank, which shares new toys collected during the holidays with EBC.
Books: Reading is a very simple way for parents to bond with their children – while helping their intellectual development at the same time. Books are compact, easy to manage while families are in transition, and can allow kids to enter a new world – one far away from any struggles they face in life. Reading with a parent or alone promotes literacy and learning, helping improve chances of school success.
Donating books is another place YOU excel. Please keep the book donations coming. We are especially in need of board books and Spanish language books.
Books, like toys, are also a fun (and easy) item to collect at an event or drive.
Learn more about all the items we accept, as well as drop off times and locations here.
Meet Our Founder – Karen Ridlon
Twenty-five years ago, Karen Ridlon founded Eastside Baby Corner (EBC). A certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (University of California, San Francisco, 1972), Karen worked as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner in California and Washington, working in well child care, newborn care and newborn ICU support for a number of medical groups and doctors. In 1990, Karen founded Eastside Baby Corner to fill an unmet need of parents of newborns who lacked basic supplies for their children.
She is Executive Director Emeritus and a lifetime member of the EBC Board of Directors. Karen has been recognized for her efforts with many volunteer awards, including receiving the Leadership Eastside LENi Community Choice Leadership Award in 2013, Distinguished Member Award for the Washington State Chapter of NAPNAP (National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners) in 2013, Issaquah Schools Foundation Golden Apple Award (2009), and chosen as a UCSF Distinguished Alumni. Karen was a key player in the development of the Issaquah Community Center and has been a tireless contributor to many volunteer efforts over the years including scouting, the public schools, and her church. Karen is the mother of three children and a proud resident of Issaquah, where she lives with her husband.Meet Our Board of Directors and Leadership