Dear Stop Drop and Play Children's Museum Families,
Just five years ago, the vision of Stop Drop and Play Children's Museum came to life. Multiple families believed a community facility for kids and families to connect by learning through play would be an essential addition to Montgomery County.
After many years of fundraising and financial support from local families and companies, the vision came to fruition. The location was secured and it was filled with quality educational toys divided into exhibit areas for children to learn through play and socialization.
Attendance proved the organization fulfilled a greater need than imagined. But this learning through play wasn't enough: the Board of Directors wanted to make a larger impact on the community by reaching out to other organizations like Montgomery County Infants and Toddlers Program. From there, the weekly programming of Community Playgroup for youth at risk and with developmental delays began. The Board continued to create unique programs essential to the community. From hiring a special needs adult and creating Storytime with AJ, while creating Playtime with a Professional, and Crayons with a Cop, Stop Drop and Play Children's Museum has provided multiple ways to connect the community in new ways.
Unfortunately, since the beginning, Stop Drop and Play Children's Museum has been significantly underfunded in the work we have done. We believed that once we made our footprint, the Museum would eventually receive the funding required to support the work we did for the community.
During our first 18 months, we were able to welcome over 1,000 visitors a month at an affordable rate. Additionally, families were encouraged to visit regularly as Stop Drop and Play Children's Museum offered weekly thematic activities to keep learning through play new and exciting for each visitor.
In early March 2020, the Board of Directors made a very difficult decision to temporarily cease Open Playtime at Stop Drop and Play Children's Museum before Governor Hogan mandated nonessential businesses close.
This decision was difficult but it was our moral obligation to encourage families and children to learn through play at home. The Museum (as it is fondly called amongst its members and frequent visitors) has been tragically impacted by the COVID-19 closures. Revenue generated from Open Playtime and private rentals has ceased. Birthday parties scheduled months out in advance have been refunded and the Museum currently has negative income.
Unfortunately, many operational costs for the Museum continue to accrue. The organization has applied for all COVID-19 relief programs, but have yet to be approved. As a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, we are limited in the funding we are able to apply for and/or receive.
Our Board of Directors did not want to reach out to the community for support in hopes the State of Maryland or the Montgomery County Public Health Emergency Grant could support the organization. Unfortunately, neither of these grants has been approved for Stop Drop and Play Children's Museum. We are at a loss.
Without revenue or auxiliary funding, Stop Drop and Play Children's Museum will have to close its doors. We know your family is also impacted by the COVID-19 closures. We want to support your children and family during this time but we are not able to do so without your financial support.
If your family is interested, please consider supporting Stop Drop and Play Children's Museum during this time while we remain idle. With Governor Hogan's orders, we do not anticipate being able to resume Open Playtime until one of the later stages of Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery. By supporting Stop Drop and Play Children's Museum during this time, you will be helping the organization maintain its physical space for learning through play until it's safe for us to allow families on-site. Funds will assist the organization with general operating costs until we are permitted to resume Open Playtime and Private Rental operations as permitted by the State of Maryland and Montgomery County Government.
We are confident that Stop Drop and Play Children's will be able to resume operations of learning through play and connecting families soon but we are relying on financial support from the community and families like yours. If you feel so inclined to support Stop Drop and Play Children's during the COVID-19 crisis, please submit financial donations through:
-PayPal Giving Fund:
-US Postal Service:
Stop Drop and Play Children's Museum
9882 Main Street, Damascus, MD 20872
-Or directly contact us for an invoice.
Continuing learning through play,
Please note: This organization has provided services to the community without ANY federal, state, or local funding, The work of this organization is in appreciation to local families and businesses through private funding.
#SmallBusinessRelief #SDPCM #LearningThroughPlay #ConnectingFamilies #Community #NonprofitOrganization #COVIDImpact