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Dinner is being served, with a side of diapers, that is, through The Parenting Place Dinner and Diapers program. The Parenting Place has been serving parents and caregivers by providing a safe place for families in the La Crosse area to learn and grow. 

When staff at the Parenting Place were seeking ways to deepen engagement of those accessing the Diaper Bank, they made a necessary addition to their programming. To extend their reach, they conceived The Dinner and Diapers program. This program emerged in order to reach out to these individuals with a program offering designed specifically to meet  their needs.

Dinner and Diapers begins by inviting parents and children into the play room, where they engage in 30 minutes of supportive play time together. The parents and children then go their separate ways, and the parents engage in evidenced-based education grounded on a conversation that allows people to share their stories. 

The diversity of Parenting Place staff is used to the program’s advantage. The variety of interaction parents and caregivers have throughout the program with staff ensure everyone feels comfortable throughout their experience. At the end of the evening, everyone joins together for a meal, and families are encouraged to take diapers home with them.

Dinner and Diapers has progressed since its initial launch. The staff is striving to keep inclusivity and quality education for parents in mind as they move forward with these events. It is their on-going mission to improve the programming and continue creating a safe environment for everyone. In this effort, staff members have been able to attend seminars in order to discover new ways to create a more comforting environment for those participating in the Dinner and Diapers event as well as those using the free diaper bank. The Parenting Place worked to remove large barriers of transportation and time. They also invite parents in, to make them feel more at home when accessing the diapers they need. This allows guardians to grab proper sizing and quantity of diapers while reaffirming the notion that everyone has a place at the Parenting Place. 

The Dinner and Diaper events help create a comfortable space for parents who access the Diaper Bank to feel like they are being heard. It creates an environment where they can learn from their experiences as well as the experience of others. The continuation and evolution of these programs depends on cost. The Parenting Place understands that in order to truly make a difference in our community and create a more inclusive environment, it is necessary to recognize the humanity of all people. If we stop and take a pause to think about what it is like to live with circumstances different than our own it allows us to create programming that is welcoming to everyone. 

To help meet needs in the Dinner and Diapers program, the Parenting Place provides some ways for community members to contribute directly to this program, including through diaper donations, one-time volunteering opportunities with children in the play area, or as a table host to help engage guardians through their learning experience. 

The Dinner and Diapers program is directed by the Parenting Place and was established in 2019. To find out more about the Parenting Place and their programming click here