Fox Valley groups partner up to hand out "Calm Down Kits" to kids

APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - Most people are experiencing additional stress because of the current pandemic, even kids. Some community groups have teamed up to provide simple tools that can help kids reduce their stress.

Festival Foods has been seeing more "Click N Go" mobile customers lately. Now some of those customers will get a bonus item with their online order.

Calm Down Kits will now be available at two Appleton-area Festival locations, Northland Avenue and Van Roy Road, for Click and Go customers with children 12 or younger.

"We received 130 kits from Samaritan Health this afternoon, so they'll be going out right away to the families with little kids," said Sharon Rusch, Guest Services Manager at the Festival Foods off Northland Ave.

The Samaritan Counseling Center of the Fox Valley has been using "calming kits" for years.

"You can use them to help yourself feel better,” said Dr. Tracy Siebers. “They're not going to take away the problem, but they're going to help you tolerate the stressful situation in which you're in."

Dr. Siebers, Samaritan’s Clinical Director, knew the COVID-19 outbreak would be pretty stressful for anyone.

"It already is a traumatic time, and kids aren't able to verbalize often what it is that they need,” said Siebers.

The kits can't change the situation, but they can teach the kids self-soothing techniques with their senses.

The United Way started helping Samaritan with these kits about a year ago - providing the items needed. Things like bubbles to teach breathing techniques, mint gum for a soothing taste, stress balls for the touch sensation, and so on.

Seibers knew back when the crisis first started she wanted to get more out to the community - that's when Festival came in.

"This is really awesome because it shows them at a really young age the importance of giving back to the communities and also that we are there for them and their families during difficult times,” said Rusch.
"We're really all here to help support and help aid the community in this time,” said Siebers.

If you aren't planning on an online grocery order at either Festival location - Siebers says making your own kit is always an option.

Though she does advise that if anyone, whatever age, is experiencing any intense distress they should look into the telehealth therapy options available to them.

To learn more about Festival Foods Click N Go program CLICK HERE.