Backpack donation items

The Park Hills Public Library is collecting donations for children placed in foster care. Until Dec. 31, for every item donated, the library will forgive $1 in overdue fines.

Among the many good causes to donate toward this month, the Park Hills Public Library has two donation drives of its own.

Most importantly, Library Director Lisa Sisk said the library will be accepting donations through the end of the month for Project Backpack for the third year.

“It’s a project through the foster care program and St. Francois County Family Services,” Sisk said. “It provides emergency supplies to kids that are removed from their homes and are not allowed to take anything with them. Some of the kids, when they’re removed from their homes through whatever circumstances, they only leave with the clothes on the back.”

Sisk said the donations collected by the library and other organizations help to stuff backpacks for those children, providing them with the basic essentials to start over again in a new home.

“They have to start somewhere else the very next day, and they may have only left in their pajamas,” she said. “This provides clothes, shoes, toiletries, diapers, wipes, bottles, school supplies and anything that kids would need to start fresh somewhere new.”

In addition to the previously named items, Sisk said good items to donate would be backpacks, toothbrushes, hairbrushes or combs, feminine products, sealed undergarments or socks, new or gently used clothing, gift cards for shoes, pacifiers, nightlights, books, school supplies or stuffed animals.

The donations are accepted as one of the library’s fine forgiveness drives, by which $1 of overdue fines are forgiven for each donated item.

“But most of the time the people who donate do not owe fines to the library,” Sisk said. “They just donate. And we’re happy to be able to do it around the holidays to help them however we can.”

Another donation opportunity through the library is a new one, with connections to the “library of things” offered through the library. The Park Hills’ library of things baking center includes more than 46 items that can be checked out for use, including everything from measuring spoons to cake pans.

“A patron had asked if we’d ever thought of doing a spice rack, and I said, ‘No, but that sounds like a good idea!'” Sisk said.

She said the library is accepting donations of unopened, unexpired spices that can be stored alongside the baking items in the library of things.

“Spices are expensive,” Sisk said. “You might have a recipe that you would use a spice for only one time, and you spent $6 for it, and to never use it again. So we thought if we can get the donations and add to it as we go, we’ll do it.”

Assuming the library receives enough donations to support the program, Sisk said people could bring in their recipes and show how much of a certain spice they needed. Library staff could then give the patrons the requested amount of a certain spice for use, without them having to buy an entire container.

“We’re working from the same premise as we did with our first library of things,” she said. “If we get donations then we’ll provide the service but if we don’t, then we won’t. If people donate, then they’re interested and it would be used. If we don’t get donations, then it probably wouldn’t be anything that anyone would use.”

For more information about donating to these programs, contact the Park Hills Public Library at 573-431-4842.

Jacob Scott is a reporter with the Daily Journal. He can be reached at 573-518-3616 or at jscott@dailyjournalonline.com.

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