By Kevin Collison
Being stuck at home with kids looking for something fun to do during the Covid-19 crisis can try the patience of any parent.
Worrying about keeping your print shop workers busy and employed during the current economic slowdown caused by the virus is exasperating too.
Kathryn “Kat” McDaniel, president of MEDiAHEAD!, has come up with a creative way to address both challenges.
Her firm located by Roanoke Park in Midtown is now on full, fun-time footing producing free activity books for children and adults.
“Our business workload has definitely declined and I was trying to think of something to keep our employees busy,” McDaniel said.
“A couple of our employees came up with the design for an activity book for adults and an activity book for kids.
“We ordered tons of pencil sets and sharpeners to go with the activity books and our first shipment went to Operation Breakthrough this week.”
The 36-page booklets and colored pencil sets provide kids with both pictures to color and games to play, many of them based on local sports teams. For the adults, they provide intricate images for their imaginations to fill with color.
Jennifer Heinemann, director of stewardship at Operation Breakthrough, said the first delivery of 200 booklets was a big hit.
“I picked up 200 books from their company and took them directly to the back door of Operation Bridge where our families are picking up food and supplies,” she said.
“We saw 350 families and they’re definitely in need of activities for their children at home. These are families that don’t have a lot of board games and other things.
“They’ve been so excited to receive them. Moms and dads are excited because they’ve been looking for quality activities for their children.”
McDaniel said Rob Garza, a sales representative at Mediahead, and Michael Johnson, lead project manager, came up with the idea and designs for the activity booklets.
The project has allowed five people to continue to work.
“We’re doing it old school,” McDaniel said. “We’re hand-collating and stitching them all.”
So far, about 500 booklets have been produced, with another shipment of 200 going to senior centers this week.
McDaniel said she plans to continue producing the activity booklets as long as people need them.
She invited organizations including charities and hospitals interested in obtaining booklets to email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We’d be glad to have more,” Heinemann said. “We serve almost 700 children.”
Don’t miss any downtown news, sign up for our weekly CityScene KC email review here.