Lending library available once again in PdC

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The toy and child care equipment lending library is once again available for Prairie du Chien area residents. Catholic Charities took on the program after the Crossing Rivers Health Family Resource Center closed in August. Rent any of the above toys, as well as larger child care needs like exersaucers, strollers, pack and plays and more at no cost, regardless of income, faith or community of residence. (Photos by Correne Martin)

The Giving Shelf is also a new offering Catholic Charities in Prairie du Chien took on from the Family Resource Center. Through this program, parents, grandparents and caregivers in need may access diapers, wipes, formula, bottles, clothing, blankets, breast pumps and other infant/toddler necessities.

Stop by the Catholic Charities office in downtown Prairie du Chien to find out about the many community services they offer for all incomes and faiths.

Area parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and babysitters will be pleased to know that Catholic Charities in Prairie du Chien has taken on the lending library, formerly run by the Family Resource Center if Crossing Rivers Health. The lending library rents toys and child care equipment to all community members either for free or a small deposit. 

Catholic Charities has taken on the Family Resource Center’s Giving Shelf as well, with intentions to assist those in need of diapers, wipes, formula and other baby or toddler necessities. 

“Crossing Rivers asked what we could do, in hopes we might be able to take these programs,”said Sandy Marx, financial wellness advocate with Catholic Charities in Prairie du Chien. “They were quite busy with them, so we thought we’d try it. We already dabbled in offering the diapers and formula. We thought it would all fit in well with what we already did.”

Diane Slothman is the volunteer who will mainly staff the lending library on Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Thursday’s from 12 to 4 p.m., or otherwise by appointment. At the Catholic Charities office, located at 104 E. Blackhawk Ave., people can check out up to three items—toys or child equipment—at one time for no cost. They may use the items for up to three weeks, return them and then check out new items for their children. 

Slothman listed a few of the toys for example: puzzles, games, building toys, electronics, riding toys, activity centers, educational toys and many others for infant through early elementary in age. Some of the available equipment includes: pack and plays, high chairs, strollers, a double stroller, bouncy seats, swings, baby carriers, exersaucers, Johnny jump-ups, potty chairs, gates, monitors, etc. a flyer for the space says there are hundreds of items to choose from. 

The lending library is a great resource for anyone who has children or grandchildren who wish to just borrow items, rather than buy and store them, Slothman explained. The toys and equipment are also sensible for grandparents who have visiting grandkids or for parents who want their kids to try something out before they buy it. 

The only part of the lending library Catholic Charities did not take on from the Family Resource Center was the car seat rental program. Otherwise, when the Resource Center closed at the end of August, the items were set up at Catholic Charities. 

Other than simple intake paperwork and general care guidelines, the lending library checkout process is easy for everyone taking advantage of these services. There may be a $25 refundable fee on some of the bigger items, but that is only because the organization hopes users will take care of the items and return them. 

“It doesn’t matter their income or faith, or where they live. Anybody is welcome to use it,” Marx said. 

“It’ll be casual. Parents can bring in the children, take a look and try things out.”

When it comes to the Giving Shelf, items available for low-income or homeless families are diapers, wipes, formula, breast pumps, wash cloths, shampoo, baby/toddler clothing, sleepers, bibs, bottles, sippy cups, blankets and much more. 

“Right now, we really need bigger diapers (and pull-ups), size 4/5,” Marx noted. 

For more information about either the lending library or Giving Shelf, call Catholic Charities at 326-1616. 

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