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Local volunteers deliver art supplies to kids in need during coronavirus closures

In one hard-hit Columbus neighborhood, the gift of art is a beautiful way to keep kids occupied.

During this time of crisis, you may not think of art supplies as one of those critical needs.

But for families in one hard-hit Columbus neighborhood, the gift of art is a beautiful way to keep their kids occupied.

Franklinton prides itself on its arts community.

It is also a neighborhood of need.

The Franklinton Arts District connects kids to their creativity through after-school art programs.

"Art's just great in that it's fun to do, and it can also be therapeutic," said Erin Kilkenny of Franklinton Arts District.

Central City Church, through its Little Bottoms Free Store, connects families in need to the most basic of supplies.

"We have diapers wipes baby clothes, other supplies and resources, but we also just want to be a safe place for families to connect," said Rev. Allyssa Graves.

Both programs have been shut down by the coronavirus outbreak.

What hasn't been shut down — is the needs both groups serve. That's why they're teaming up.

Pastor Graves has started delivering care packages to families served by Little Bottoms.

"We don't normally do food or formula, but we got some extra resources to put together a package for about 30 of our families, with 20 diapers per child, a pack of wipes, some food, some formula."

And the Franklinton Arts District was able to provide a little something extra.

"So we donated some art supplies such as water colors, crayons, coloring books, Play-Doh, things like that," said Kilkenny.

Ermma Morrison's kids received one of those care packages yesterday.

"It just helps mellow them out, calm them down. For at least a half hour. You know anything is better than nothing," she said.

Asked what a half hour of quiet means to her right now, she laughed, "It's awesome!"

And in a time of fear and worry, she said "Just the little stuff means a lot right now."

When a box of crayons is so much more.

"We also need a breath of fresh air in this time," said Graves. "We need hope. And that's something that a 'Toy Story' coloring book can give to a 5-year-old."

"We have to stick together," said Kilkenny. "So I think helping your neighbors and friends and family is really important at a time like this."

Little Bottoms Free Store welcomes volunteers and donations of food, formula and diapers, specifically sizes 5 and 6.

You can help by visiting the Little Bottoms Free Store Facebook page or Central City Church's website.

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