BREMEN — Some local Kiwanis members are doing what they can to make it easier for parents with children being treated at Riley Hospital for Children. Though they can’t take away the child’s illness, they can make things a little less stressful and offer comfort through their services and supplies offered in the Kiwanis Parent Care Cart.
“When a child is chronically ill or injured, a lot of the times the parent goes with them in the helicopter or ambulance to South Bend or Indianapolis,” explained Bremen Kiwanian and present (local) secretary Denny Yoder. “There are emotions going on and they’re not thinking about packing. The Care Cart offers them about 30 different items for their personal needs.”
Yoder has been a Kiwanis member since 1979 and has held several positions of leadership including President, Lt. Governor, and Governor of the State but is presently moved up the state ranks as KIDS for Riley District Chair which covers all of Indiana.
“KIDS stands for Kiwanis In Direct Support,” Yoder said. “It started with helping the parents by giving them rides if their car might not be able to make the trip and offering them babysitting, lawn mowing … anything we could do to help the family in need.”
There are 200 Kiwanis clubs in the state but when the social workers from Riley Hospital for Children have a need, they give Yoder a call. “They call me and I call the different members in the state to see if they can help,” he explained. “We also do the pediatric bags in the ambulances for the children. We have a lot of projects going to help the children and parents in that time of need when they need that comfort.”
Kiwanis members in Indianapolis take the wheeled cart room to room, floor to floor within the hospital to offer parents items such as deodorant, razors, toothbrushes, game books, fleece blankets, neck pillows, and other things to make their stay even minutely more pleasant. Presently, Yoder, a retired carpenter (after 45 years in the business), is building a new cart for the initiative.
“The other one (provided by a Kiwanis group in Carmel) was getting old and was heavy and a little bulky,” he said. “They have to get this thing in and out of rooms and on and off the elevator easily and the hospital is seven floors now.”
It’s taken him about two weeks of cutting, sanding and attaching the push bar, wheels, doorknobs, and tracks to slide the plastic trays into that he plans to have filled for drop off at the hospital Oct. 16.
But before that, once he has it completely whitewashed, the cart will make its way to the art club at Bremen High School where it will be painted with sand, water, and palm tree images to match the “treasure box” atop the cart which acts as a giant organizer for smaller items like nail clippers and gum for the parents.
While Yoder waits for the children to finish the cart’s colorful motif (to cheer the children as much as it is to offer the parents their “treasures”) he and his fellow Kiwanians will be trying to collect donations to fill it.
New items needed include: thank you cards, note cards, full-sized candy bars, soft fuzzy slippers or footies, chapstick/lip balm, mens and womens travel-sized deodorant, mens and womens disposable razors and shaving cream, travel-sized hair conditioner and shampoo, travel-sized toothpaste, travel-sized mouthwash, adult toothbrushes, hairbrushes, nylon loofas or wash “poufs,” forever postage stamp booklets, gum (three packs to a package), mints like Altoids or TicTacs etc., hair scrunchies (ponytail holders — the large, thicker holders), nail clippers and or tweezers in individual packages, travel-sized hand lotion, game books (word searches, crosswords etc.), and pencils and pens.
To donate to the Kiwanis Parent Care Cart contact Yoder at 574-286-6940 or Janet Anglemyer (Bremen Clerk-Treasurer and local Kiwanian) at 574-546-2471.