Eastside Baby Corner wants everyone to ‘drop their pants

September 3, 2013

By Joe Grove

Helen Banks Routon, director of development and community relations for Eastside Baby Corner, encourages all Eastsiders to come by EBC Sept. 7 and “drop their pants” from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. as the organization attempts to collect 2,500 pairs of pants for its fourth annual Pants Party.

To encourage participation and engender excitement among children, she is promising food, games, entertainment, warehouse tours and giveaways.

“We are looking for people to bring us new or gently used pants for kids from birth to age 12, newborn to size 14,” she said. “The special need is for kids who will be going into school, maybe sizes 5 on up, but we will take pants for all sizes.”

Routon said the mission is to gather used items from the community, purchase whatever else is needed, and get it out to kids to help them thrive and be prepared to succeed in school.

“That includes having sufficient, decent clothes, to have enough confidence to enter school and succeed,” she said.

Tonya Mosley, EBC communications specialist, said when clothes are dropped off, they will be sorted, folded and placed into bags to be sent out to children in need. The bags also contain school supplies, toys and other things a child needs.

“We work with 50 schools, hospitals and social service agencies,” she said.

She said just about any agency working with families in greater east King County can order supplies from EBC.

She also emphasized the need for pants for boys.

“Boys grow so fast during the summer time and they are also hard on their clothing,” she said, “We are always needing pants for both boys and girls. Pants are really kind of the foundation.”

She talked of how one mother of twins only had one pair of pants for the two of them, so they could only go to school on the day it was their turn to wear the pants.

Routon said EBC needs to be able to give out about 500 pairs of pants a week from September to January.

She said the normal hours for Saturday drop-offs at the center, 1510 N.W. Maple St., are from 9 a.m. to noon, and that will be going on as well as the Pants Party. People can bring anything by during those times as well.

“We accept just about anything a child needs from birth to age 12, not just clothing: school supplies, backpacks, bedding, toys, books, food, formula, diapers,” Routon said.

She said the function of EBC is to leverage the efforts of social service providers. An agency may be working with a family to help them find employment or training, for example. If a parent is struggling with just getting diapers, school clothing or other needs, their focus is not on their training, she said.

EBC is 23 years old and now gives out approximately 8,000 bags of clothing a year, which contains everything needed in a child’s wardrobe. This is accomplished with the help of 50 core volunteers and another 100 volunteers. The effort amounts to 2,000 to 2,500 volunteer hours per month.

“What’s really neat about the pants party is that it is a great opportunity for people to come and enjoy themselves, and yes, we need the pants,” Routon said. “We have all kinds of activities lined up. There will be bubbles and face painting, carnival type games, food and drink, and the fire department.

“Teach your kids to clean out their closets and donate the clothes. They are going to help another child, plus they are going to have fun.”

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