A community effort will help Dinuba children strive through traumatic events

The Dinuba Lions Club presented kid care kits to the Dinuba Police Department on January 11.  Per the program’s mission statement, the kits are designed to “ease the emotional burden on children in situations of trauma or neglect by showing them they are worthy of dignity and respect, and by addressing immediate care and comfort needs.”

The reality of some Dinuba Police responses is that sometimes innocent children are deeply affected.  There are cases where a parent is arrested for breaking a law in town, or police respond to residences, and the children must be directed to Child Protective Services.

The kits are designed to provide the children with immediate care items like a blanket, stuffed animal, book with a theme of overcoming traumatic adversity, a toy, and journals and writing instruments for the older children.  There are also snacks, as well as hygiene items in a custom cloth pouch for any displaced children, including:  a toothbrush and toothpaste, soap, shampoo and conditioner, lotion, a brush and comb, hair ties for the girls and hair gel for the boys.

Other situations in which the police department would provide the kits to children include residential emergencies before Red Cross responds, or lost children or runaway juveniles.

Dinuba Police Lt. Russell Son said, “A lot of the kids, it’s a traumatic situation for them, especially if they’re in the foster system already and have bounced around from one place to another.  They lose that self-dignity and they don’t have that sense of pride.  You give them something like this that shows them that there are people out there that do care and help develop that dignity with each individual kid.  It shows them that things do get better.”

Dinuba Police Chief Devon Popovich (also a Dinuba Lion) said the kits provided by the Lions Club would provide the department with enough supplies for six months to a year.

Popovich said, “It’s not every day we run into these incidents, but when we do it’s really nice to have resources like the kits”.

Some of the items in the kits were donated by local organizations.  Other businesses worked with the Lions Club to provide wholesale prices.  The Blanket Ladies of Visalia made blankets, the Tulare-Kings Dental Society provided toothbrushes, and Ruiz Foods provided pencil cases.

Dinuba Lions Third Vice President Maria McElroy told the police department, “Hopefully you will never need this stuff, but if you do need it we have more and we will restock as needed … we want the kids to feel appreciated in despite what is going on.”

Dinuba Lions Club members put the kits together in overtime after one of their regular Thursday meetings.

Dinuba Lions Club First Vice President Tim Conklin said, “The Lions are always ready and willing to serve the people of Dinuba.  We’ve got a really hard-working club.  We like to have fun, but at the same time we’re always here to serve our community.”

“Adapted from article by Jackson Moore of the Dinuba Sentinel.”