Make a Difference: The Little Exchange supports Dayton Children’s Hospital

Kim Howell is one of 80 volunteers who contribute time to The Little Exchange. Here, she is pictured in the shop’s dining room. CONTRIBUTED

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Kim Howell is one of 80 volunteers who contribute time to The Little Exchange. Here, she is pictured in the shop’s dining room. CONTRIBUTED

One of the Miami Valley’s most charming gift shops is located in the former Katherine Wright Library in Oakwood. Before it was a library, the building was a private home nearby and was moved to its current location at 45 Park Ave.

The non-profit boutique, known as The Little Exchange, stocks a wide variety of items you won’t find elsewhere and is especially known for its lovely household accessories. Their website (thelittleexchange.org) also offers a wide variety of gift ideas.

Your purchases at this shop make a difference because profits have been benefitting Dayton Children’s Hospital for decades. The shop has donated over $1.7 million to the hospital through the years.

First conceived by a group of friends in the spring of 1950 to benefit local charities, The Little Exchange quickly became known as a place to find one-of-a-kind gifts.

“We are so proud of the impact we’ve been able to have for children in our community,” says store manager Melissa Willenbrink. “Our mission has always been to give to a children’s charity and we believe in the work that Dayton Children’s does to really make a difference for children, their health, and their families.”

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The store is staffed by more than 80 volunteers who are always happy to assist and to wrap your gifts free-of-charge. Local delivery in south-of-town zip codes is free and curbside pick up is available. There’s currently an After-Christmas Sale going on with 50 percent reductions and the shop is also showcasing newly-arrived items, including early-arriving spring merchandise.

“In January we will promote our Bridal and Babies registry program,” says Willenbrink. “Brides who are getting married in 2022 or couples having a baby can help benefit Dayton Children’s Hospital by registering with us.”

Where the money goes

In recent years the Little Exchange donations have been benefiting a program within the hospital called the Family Resource Connection. Located in The Conner Child Health Pavilion, the Center uses a patient’s visit to the doctor as an opportunity to address the non-medical issues that have an impact on health. “Families are screened during well child or new patient visits for social needs,” explains Ashtyn Liddy, program assistant for the Center for Health Equity. “Some of the most common needs identified in the program include food, personal care items, baby supplies and school supplies. In partnership with the Dayton Foodbank, Dayton Children’s offers boxes of emergency food to patient families determined to be food insecure.”

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The Little Exchange gift shop benefits Dayton Children’s. Here volunteer Julie Ferneding wraps gifts. CONTRIBUTED

The Little Exchange gift shop benefits Dayton Children’s. Here  volunteer Julie Ferneding wraps gifts. CONTRIBUTED

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The Little Exchange gift shop benefits Dayton Children’s. Here volunteer Julie Ferneding wraps gifts. CONTRIBUTED

The Family Resource Connection also holds a yearly event serving patient families that request Christmas assistance. Each year they set up tables filled with toys, books, blankets and household items and serve about 100-150 children. “Families come through and choose a couple of items from each table,” explains Liddy.

Here’s what The Family Resource Center can use:

  • Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Toothpaste, toothbrushes
  • Lotions
  • Chapstick
  • Soaps
  • Shampoo, conditioner
  • Deodorant
  • Laundry detergent
  • Socks
  • School supplies

Donations can be dropped off at the shop, 45 Park Avenue in Oakwood. It’s open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

For questions or more information, call (937) 299-1561 or email info@thelittleexchange.org. If you’d like to check out some of the available gifts, the website is thelittleexchange.org

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Supplies at the Family Resource Connection at Dayton Children’s. The project is supported by The Little Exchange gift shop. CONTRIBUTED

Supplies at the Family Resource Connection at Dayton Children’s. The project is supported by The Little Exchange gift shop. CONTRIBUTED

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Supplies at the Family Resource Connection at Dayton Children’s. The project is supported by The Little Exchange gift shop. CONTRIBUTED

Other ways to help

The Little Exchange is always in need of volunteers and it’s a pretty and fun place to work. The commitment is one-half day twice a month.

MAKE A DIFFERENCE

Meredith Moss writes about Dayton-area nonprofit organizations and their specific needs. If your group has a wish list it would like to share with our readers, contact Meredith: meredith.moss@coxinc.com.

Please include a daytime phone number and a photo that reflects your group’s mission.

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