Family Resource Center collects blankets, gives out information

The back corner of Lowe's parking lot was a child-care and family-resource fair Saturday with information for parents, free child safety seat inspection, raffles, quilts and hot dogs.

Called the WEE Need Drive, the event was organized by the Ron Wood Family Resource Center in an effort to collect diapers, formula and other baby essentials for local mothers in need.

By 11 a.m. employees and volunteers from the Family Resource Center were sorting boxes of donated blankets, quilts, food and breast pumps.

"And look at this," said Jill Manit, executive director of the center. She held up a 36-ounce can of Kirkland Infant Formula with iron -- which retails for $25.

"That's really great," said Lauren Davis, also with the center. "That's like two weeks of formula."

The collections are part of a new initiative Davis launched, called the Community Essentials Program. While the center offers parenting workshops and juvenile delinquency prevention, the new program is aimed at covering the basics: food, diapers, formula and toiletries.

"Food first, then parenting classes," explained Manit.

"It's definitely something the community needs," Davis said.

They offered raffle tickets to raise funds for the new program, with prizes including dinners at Denny's and Schlotsky's, ice cream at Baskin-Robbins and 20 bowling passes at the Pi-on Plaza.

Former Ron Wood volunteer Flo Neff made two baskets for the raffle -- one with bath essentials for "the ultimate relaxation experience" and the other an infant basket for "your little bundle of joy."

Joining the resource center Saturday were advocates from the Sierra Association of Foster Families, which offers resources to foster families and children in Washoe, Lyon and Douglas counties and Carson City.

"A big part of us coming down here today is public awareness," Cindy Johnson said. "Most of our families are in Reno."

They were selling raffle tickets to raise funds for a trip to Wild Island for all foster families and children. The theme park can be expensive for large families, said Johnson, who has two biological children, six foster children, "and a husband, thank God."

Case workers Laura George and Cindy Suter came out from The Children's Cabinet Inc. Their Carson office works to help families with the cost of child care, George said.

Behind them representatives from the Ron Wood Center, Nevada Office of Traffic Safety and Carson City Fire Department were doing free child safety seat inspections.

"Ninety-eight percent of child safety seats in Nevada are installed incorrectly," said Traci Filippi of the traffic safety office. "That's compared to 85 percent nationally."

She and Aaron Lee of Ron Wood had stickers, pens and Doritos to hand to little ones as they checked seats.

"Our job is to ensure that children are riding in vehicles safely," she said.

She noted the recent legislation which extended the age children are required by Nevada law to use a booster seat -- from 5 years old and 40 pounds up to 6 years old and 60 pounds.

"Seat belts are designed for adults," she said. "Booster seats help them properly fit the child."

Lee said more of the free seat inspections are planned, though dates have not been set.

Charlie and Derek Coltrin came out from Wienerschnitzel restaurant offering chili dogs, polish dogs and kraut dogs as well as sodas for sale. They gave 10 percent of their profits to the Ron Wood Center.

"It's a good cause," said Charlie Coltrin, Wienerschnitzel's special events manager.


For help with parenting, call the Ron Wood Family Resource Center at 884-2269.


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