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Published: Wednesday, 12/9/2009

Food-donation drive offers free child care

BLADE STAFF

The charitable idea came suddenly to Valerie Bower one day: Provide a few hours of free child care for families on Saturdays so parents can prepare for the holidays, and ask for donations of nonperishable food items in return.

The food-drive campaign at Toddlers Schools - of which Ms. Bower is vice president of administration - is catching on slowly. Some community members who do not need child care also have donated food, all of which will be given to the Toledo SeaGate Foodbank, Ms. Bower said.

Child care typically costs $5 to $9 an hour at Toddlers School, depending on a child's age. And parents do not have to have their children enrolled at Toddlers School, which has seven locations in Toledo, Oregon, and Rossford, for them to receive child care in exchange for donated food, Ms. Bower said.

"It is something unique and just an opportunity for us to give back to the community," said Ms. Bower, adding that the hope is to repeat the food-drive campaign next year.

She added: "It just clicked in my head that we could pick a food bank and help them out as well as help families that need the care to do shopping."

This Saturday, free child care for a non-perishable food donation will be provided from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Toddlers School, 111 Indiana Ave., Toledo. Free child care in exchange for a food donation also will be provided from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Dec. 19 at Toddlers School, 631 Euclid Ave., Toledo.

Toddlers Schools' five other centers already have held the four-hour events, which started Nov. 7.

"The first couple of centers, we didn't really have any turnout," Ms. Bower said. "We just figured it wasn't close to the holidays yet."

For more information, contact Ms. Bower at 419-693-7550, ext. 211.



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