The art of giving back: Eastside Baby Corner

by Hanson Lee, Running & Fitness Coordinator
tricia barry
Tricia Barry - Communications Specialist at Eastside Baby Corner

Eastside Baby Corner is a community-driven organization with the goal of providing clothes and toys for kids in need. Since its birth in 1990, Eastside Baby Corner has grown into an opportunity for anybody and everybody to give back and provide for the next generation. Shoes-n-Feet is a proud supporter of Eastside Baby Corner’s mission to provide care to underprivileged youth and children in need.

Before Eastside Baby Corner, there was nurse practitioner Karen Ridlon. Ridlon began seeing kids arriving at their appointments wearing mismatched dirty clothing and shoes with holes in them. This sparked a vision for Ridlon, a vision that would soon evolve into something much greater.

Through her eyes, Ridlon saw a need for her community that wasn’t being served as far as kids needing help. As a result, Ridlon decided to start small and dream big, going around her neighborhood collecting items and gathering support from the people who were closest to her. This would lead to Ridlon setting up a small donation hub from inside her garage and the beginning of Eastside Baby Corner.

Now in 2019, Eastside Baby Corner has expanded into three separate locations: Issaquah, Kenmore, and Bremerton. The organization helps kids from birth to age 12 with everyday items such as clothes, toys, books, shoes, formula, and diapers.

“It feels good to give, I think everybody that works here feels that way,” said Eastside Baby Corner Communications Specialist Tricia Barry. “We’re helping more than 1500 kids every single month.”

tricia barry working in the toy room
Barry working in the toy room at Eastside Baby Corner

For Barry, no two days are the same. With community being a key aspect of her job, Barry handles communications amongst all three locations and works with operations to help set up anything from donation drives to community events.

“I really want to help kids, and I think that’s a big part of why I’m passionate about what we do here,” Barry said. “I think everybody else would say the same thing.”

A big part of Eastside Baby Corner’s success comes from the commitment of volunteer work within the organization. In total, Barry estimates roughly 2700 hours are put in per month from volunteers willing to come by and help out.

“Volunteers are huge and we could not do what we do every day without them,” Barry said. 

Barry expressed that when you think of the fact that there are kids out there that literally have nothing, it helps put things into perspective and encourages people to play a more significant role within their community.

With another Summer in the books and the 2019 school year already off and running, Eastside Baby Corner, alongside Shoes-n-Feet, looks to celebrate back-to-school festivities with the organization’s inaugural Ready, Set, Go...Run 5K & Kids4Kids1K Run/Walk, taking place at Shoes-n-Feet on September 15. The event is geared towards helping prepare kids for the new school year and all proceeds on the day will directly benefit Eastside Baby Corner’s efforts in doing just that.

“You know you can’t help everybody, but if you can help a little bit it goes a long way,” Barry said. “We want kids to have everything they need to be ready for back to school and school success.”
 

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