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Thursday, March 23, 2023

Perham church offers free diapers and clothes for children – Perham Focus

PERHAM — A fateful car trip in the winter of 2006 changed the course of services offered to Perham families in need. Crosspoint Alliance church administrator Roxanne Bartels was driving home from work in Detroit Lakes in Perham when she heard an ad on the radio about a church holding a “baby shower” where people handed out diapers and wipes for families in need. . She immediately thought it would be nice to have a service like that available at Crosspoint Alliance Church.

“(The board of elders at the time) passed a small budget for us, and it flourished,” Bartels reflected. “It’s been working ever since. It’s been wonderful.”

Every morning on the first Tuesday of the month, the Baby Bin has its doors open inside the church with diapers, baby wipes and children’s clothing for families in need. Due to supply limits, each participant receives a pack of diapers, offered in a variety of sizes, and a pack of baby wipes. They can also examine the clothing supply for anything their children might need, such as gloves, shoes, or pants. Families entering the church need only register at the front, and all of these items are available free of charge.

While Bartels helped make the Baby Bin a reality, he wasn’t the only person involved. It has been great for her to continue to see her creation grow and prosper, but now that she is busy as a church administrator, a new member of the congregation leads the Baby Bin charge: Dori Mitchell.

The tables and shelves are filled with children’s clothing once a month for families in need.

Elizabeth Vierkant / Perham Approach

Originally from Montana, Mitchell joined Crosspoint Alliance Church after she and her husband moved to the Perham community. Although the two have since retired, Mitchell remains busy with Baby Bin.

“I think this pack of diapers is $7, and a pack of baby wipes is at least $10,” Mitchell shared, considering the work she and other volunteers do for the community. “You know, we’re giving you a drop in the bucket, but at least it’s helping a little.”

Everything available is something that Mitchell said he would like to put on his own son. They inspect all items that come in to make sure they are clean and functional. Community members donate clothing and volunteers go to thrift stores and garage sales throughout the year to find quality items for families in need.

If someone’s baby has allergies, Mitchell will even go to great lengths to make sure the Baby Bin has baby-safe diapers and wipes available.

Although the container used to serve about 120 families, knowledge about this community resource has faded as babies and families have grown. Now serving about 50 families, Mitchell wants to make sure the community knows this free resource is right in town.

“Richville is the only other place I know of in the area that gives away quality (goods),” Mitchell said. “I don’t know anyone else in the whole county, unless it’s a secret.”

Setting up this resource is also not an easy task. Mitchell and other volunteers meet the Monday before each Baby Bin date and lay out all the clothes, diapers and wipes for those coming the next day. They even mark all sizes.

Twice a year, an even larger group of volunteers help shift the inventory of options from summer to winter and vice versa. It’s a big task, so they could always use the extra hands, Mitchell said.


All Baby Bin content, donated by community members or purchased by volunteers, is available for free.

Elizabeth Vierkant / Perham Approach

Baby Bin isn’t the only free resource available at Crosspoint Alliance Church on the first Tuesday of every month, either. Tot Time, which lasts about two hours, allows parents and their children, from birth to five years old, to connect with each other and play. Mats, tunnels, tents, toys and more are available for children in the room right next to the Baby Bin.

Sarah Spicer, who runs Tot Time, has been on the show for about 14 years.

“I used to benefit from getting all the diapers and clothes,” she shared. “I just love it, so I keep coming back. I know what it’s like for all these parents. It’s very stressful having those little kids, and I like being the person to advise or be able to relate to someone like a mom.”

While Tot Time as a concept is simple, Spicer thinks it’s a blessing to have it available. When she was a mother of young children, she took some of the tension off her shoulders. She mentioned that parenting can sometimes become isolating, so it’s good to have people around you who understand.

“My son, it was really nice for him to have a social outlet,” she said. “Being able to be with other kids was also good. For me, as a mom, it was being able to relate to other people. I realized that they are going through the same things that I am and they can talk to me about it. .”

Children attending Tot Time must be accompanied by an adult.

While Mitchell said she knows walking into a church can be intimidating, she stressed that people of all backgrounds and religions are welcome at both Baby Bin and Tot Time.

The Baby Bin takes place on the first Tuesday of every month from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Tot Time takes place on the same day from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Both can be found at the Perham Crosspoint Alliance Church, located at 600 Eighth St NE. For more information about these services or the church, call 218-346-4673 or visit crosspointalliance.org. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Mitchell at 218-371-8729.

“I just think there’s a huge need,” Mitchell said. “It feels good to be able to (help) in the community.”

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