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Autistic care center gets gift of kitchen for clients

Some Bartlett business people are helping an autistic treatment center here make lunches and celebrations more enjoyable. BE logo square

David Weimar, of Weimar’s Jewelers, has agreed to donate money to install a kitchen at Transformations. The kitchen will help staff there prepare lunches for autistic clients and allow them to hold events such as birthday parties, said Transformations representative Ty Thompson.

“We have a lot of clients who need to use special cups and plates,” said Thompson, who said some clients refuse to use plates that others would use. “There will be a double sink, feet of counter space and cabinets for storage.”

Right now, the room where the mini-kitchen will be installed has only plastic shelving and a microwave. The set up for a sink already is in place, but the sink itself is missing.

Thompson said the total of the donation is going to be about $1,000 once complete

The idea came out of a recent Kiwanis luncheon, where Century 21 Maselle & Associates Inc. Realtor Sandra Gallagher heard about the center’s needs. Thompson said she contacted Weimar and Kevin Quinn, a local contractor, to make it happen.

“This is something we couldn’t do by ourselves,” said Thompson, who also said that while most of the clients get services on a self-pay basis, the center runs on a tight budget that requires charitable gifts to survive.

In fact, the kitchen isn’t the only need. The center, which serves autistic clients ages 2 to 30 who live throughout the Memphis metro area, said gifts-in-kind remain a major need.

“We need carpet, paint, doors,” said Thompson. “A lot of times, the costs come out of staff’s pockets, but it can get tough.

Even products such as office supplies and copy paper can put a drain on the 501(c)3 organization, which is asking the people of Bartlett for help.

“Let’s say someone is remodeling their office and has something such as decent office furniture or a leather couch that they are just wanting to replace,” said Thompson. “We could benefit from those things, because we just don’t have that much.”

Thompson pointed out that much of the office furniture is mixed and matched together. While staff can make do, many of them and the volunteers have to sit in child-size seats because the center doesn’t have anything else to offer.

And although there are a number of items that could be donated to the kitchen or to other areas of the center, it’s best to check to see what the center might need, said John Holtzman, Transformation’s director of finance.

“We got a donation once years ago of Elmer’s glue and we still have boxes of Elmer’s glue,” he said. “We’ve sold some of it at sales, given it away, but we still have boxes of it.

When in doubt, Holtzman said, a gift card to some place such as Sam’s Club can go a long way.

“We pay for our Sam’s Club membership like that,” said Holtzman, snapping his fingers. They use the discount big box store for items such as laminating sheets, which they use frequently and can get at a fraction of the price of other stores.

Meanwhile, Thompson said they are always grateful for whatever donations the center can receive, and he wants people to know they don’t have to come to the center to make their gifts.

“I want someone who cannot leave their home but wants to help to have a way that they can give back,” he said. “There’s really no such gift as something too small.”

HOW TO HELP

Transformations Autistic Treatment Center is a 501(c)3 organization that depends on donations and gifts-in-kind to serve autistic clients in the Mid-South. To find out what the center need for donations, call Ty Thompson at 901-592-0131. Meanwhile, the center needs:

• gift cards to big box stores, especially Sam’s Club

• paper shredder

• carpeting

• decent office furniture

• laminating sheets

• copy paper

• hand sanitizer and hand soap

• water cooler

• freezer bags

• storage containers, particularly for food

• paper products, such as cups, plates, napkins and towels

• plastic eating utensils

• cleaning supplies

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