All families should have access to fun and free experiences to play and learn with their children. That’s one of the reasons Missouri Employers Mutual partnered with First Chance for Children to donate equipment to help their Lend and Learn library clean and sanitize toys.
A safe sanitizing option for toys
MEM donated a steam cleaner and two Vortex-UV portable room sanitizers which have the capacity to sanitize a 400 square foot space in less than 30 minutes. The gift falls within MEM’s charitable giving focus areas of safety, health and wellness, and education and skills development.
“The UV equipment will help us sanitize and disinfect our toys more efficiently,” said Charity Quinn, Lend and Learn Library Educator. “The process will kill germs without harsh chemicals that are hazardous to infants and young children. The system will also save staff and volunteer time so we can focus on interacting with families.”
Serving Mid-Missouri families
From 2019 to 2020, the library served an estimated 290 families in its Columbia and Centralia Library locations. Established in 2006. It serves as a place where parents can play with their children and check out toys so families can extend learning at home. Recently, the organization moved into a new expanded space which will allow for more program and outreach offerings in its nine-county service area in Mid-Missouri.
“We are here for all families with children under the age of five,” said Kasey Hammock, director of First Chance for Children. “Being a parent is hard for everyone and we strive to build a community with support and resources that make it a little easier, no matter the challenge you’re facing.”
While the physical indoor play spaces for First Chance are still closed because of COVID-19 safety concerns, the Lend and Learn Library has plans for “pop up” outdoor experiences to increase access to resources for families.
MEM has enjoyed a strong connection to First Chance for Children for several years. Jennifer Barth, MEM’s vice president and chief legal officer, serves as immediate past president for the organization’s board of directors, and Shelley Robinson, senior marketing strategist at MEM, serves as board member.