Last week, as I was leaving work I encountered what was obviously a daycare centre taking a group of toddlers out for a walk. I don’t normally pay attention to the people I pass on the street, my mind is usually in over-drive thinking about my work day, what I should cook for dinner, and what fun activities I can do with my children when I pick them up. For whatever reason (fate?) I looked down at the children to flash them a grin because they appeared to be the same age as my daughter Brooke. Unfortunately instead of happy smiling faces, I was greeted with the faces of toddlers bawling their eyes out, snot and tears streaming down their faces, with tiny little red hands … That day we had our first snowfall of the winter season and the temperature was hovering near 0C (32F) – the darling kids’ hands were freezing!!!!! At first I was apalled at the daycare – who would send their children to this place? But then I realized that the care providers were rotating their own mittens around to the children. They were doing all that they could and were trying to get the kids to walk as fast as possible to return to the centre.
I contacted the day care centre first thing the next morning and offered to bring winter clothing for the children and learned that many of the children in their care are dropped off by their parents without proper attire. This is a subsidized daycare and they told me that many of the parents don’t send them with hats & mittens (or extra clothing in case they get wet – ie: underwear and socks) and that they are badly in need of these items to loan the children when they go outside. Here in Ontario, the Day Nurseries Act states that children must go outside for two-hours of fresh air every day. This is great for the kids who have proper attire, but doesn’t fit well with these kids who would be better off in a warm child care centre then out getting frost bite.
Today I gave that daycare centre an early Christmas present, I gave them a bag of mittens, hats and socks that I bought over my lunch last week and I also gave them clothes that my children have outgrown. I’m blogging this to urge you to consider doing the same – there are children in our communities who need more than toys for Christmas – they need the basic necessities too. Please consider these children when doing your Christmas shopping, when you contribute an unwrapped toy (as I know you all do), please drop in a pair of mittens and a hat too – their poor little red hands will thank you.