REACHING OUT — Kaydin Figueroa, 6, watches as Elijah Dingman, 6, reaches for Band-Aids as they construct “You Matter” bags to give to Oneida’s indigent. These bags include deodorant, soap, toothpaste and toothbrushes and socks. The project is part of Oneida Public Library’s summer reading program. (Sentinel photo by Roger Seibert)

Oneida children, library enjoy books, helping others

Published Jul 16, 2017 at 9:00am

ONEIDA — A small group of kids is making a big difference in the Oneida community through a series of programs held Monday mornings at the Oneida Public Library.

Each Monday at 10 a.m. elementary-age schoolchildren participate in the library’s summer reading program.

They read books that encourage helping others. Then, they are directed in activities that put what they’ve learned into practice.

“This week we are assembling ‘You Matter’ bags,” library Children’s Services Coordinator Megan Gillander said.

“The kids are putting in a variety of donated items that we will give, for free, to someone in Oneida who is in need.”

Next week the class will construct a small library at the Oneida Young Mens’ Christian Association. “They will be able to exchange books with children,” Gillander said.

The items were placed in large sandwich bags and include everyday items including toothbrushes and toothpaste, deodorant, Band-Aid bandages, soap and socks.

The children’s parents will each receive a few bags that they will share with people they know who could use a hand.

Others will be given to the Karing Kitchen, and others will remain at the library for distribution.

“I think what we are doing is kind and helpful to other people,” eight-year-old Drew Allen said.

The Karing Kitchen is located at 116 Grove St. and may be reached at 315-363-2450 or via e-mail at

The kitchen will be running Monday, June 19 through Saturday, June 24.

Each day begins with coffee hour at 10:30 a.m. and hot lunch is served from 11:30 a.m. until 1 p.m.

The kitchen is open to everyone regardless of residence, age, or income.

Sponsors include United Way of Oneida and the Food Bank of Central New York.