For those who may not know, what is Yitzchok’s Toy Box?
Yitzchok’s Toy Box assists therapists and parents of children receiving physical, occupational or speech therapy in identifying which therapy items are most suitable for their child at no cost. This project aims to get the right therapy equipment and toys, at the right time, into the hands of every child.
Why was this organization started?
After the sudden passing of Yitzchok Sheffield A”H last Chol Hamoed Sukkos, Sarah Don, OTR/L, offered to spearhead a therapy equipment/toy gemach as a way to perpetuate Yitzchok’s memory. Sarah identified this need after noticing that therapists sometimes hesitate to suggest items that might help a child because of the time and expense that parents may face trying out multiple items that may or may not work. For the same reasons, parents also hesitate to purchase items that a therapist suggests. This results in many lost opportunities for children receiving physical, occupational, or speech therapy to obtain tools that could assist them in progressing toward their goals.
How does Yitzchok’s Toy Box meet this need?
Yitzchok’s Toy Box has a growing inventory of over 200 items available for loan. Therapists can recommend items without concern about the time and expense parents will face in identifying what works well for their child. Parents and therapists can borrow items at no charge; we can even arrange for delivery if it’s too difficult for the parents to get out! If the child needs the item for a short time, the family can keep it until the child is no longer using it. In other cases, a family borrows an item until insurance approval is obtained.
What if I find something that works for my child but I can’t afford to buy it?
We encourage families to reach out to us, as we have information on grants and other funding opportunities, as well as relationships with manufacturers and vendors, that may make it possible for you to obtain what your child needs at low or no cost.
What types of therapy equipment and toys do you carry?
Our equipment categories include Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AACs), calming, feeding and oral motor, fidgets and visual timers, fine motor and writing, gross motor and walking, infant and toddler toys, seating, sensory tools, switches and switch-activated toys, therapy books, therapy games, and vibration. Our live inventory is available on our website www.YitzchoksToyBox.com
How do you obtain the items in your inventory?
Generous community support enables us to expand our inventory in response to the requests we receive. In addition, nearly half of our current items were donated by manufacturers, vendors, or individuals who are no longer using the items. Many of the remaining items were provided to us at substantial discount.
What type of children do you serve?
Yitzchok’s Toy Box lends items to any child in the Orthodox community who is receiving PT, OT, or speech therapy, without regard to age, diagnosis, or level of need. If a request is better served by an existing community resource, we direct the family to that resource.
How do parents access items from Yitzchok’s Toy Box?
After receiving a recommendation from their child’s physical, occupational, or speech therapist, the parent reaches out to us by phone, text, or email. Therapists can also contact us on behalf of their clients. Sarah then notifies the parent or therapist once the item is available for pick up.
What if I borrow something and my child breaks it?
While we ask that parents take reasonable precautions to protect the gemach’s equipment and toys, we understand that sometimes mishaps are inevitable.
How can members of the community help?
Every introduction to a vendor who can provide therapy equipment and toys at no charge makes it possible to stretch our dollars further. In addition, one of the remarkable parts of Yitzchok’s Toy Box is our incredible volunteer base. We are seeking volunteers who can share their talents in web design and maintenance, graphic design, database management, copywriting, marketing, secretarial work, bookkeeping, organizing, equipment sanitizing, and electrical work. We can also use help with deliveries. Of course, we welcome your tax-deductible financial contributions as well.
I heard that Yitzchok’s Toy Box has branches in other cities. Is that true?
Yes, in Lakewood, Chicago, and more on the way, though funds raised for each city are earmarked for that city.
This sounds like a great resource for families! How can parents and therapists contact you?
Please contact us prior to dropping off any donations.