Parents who would rather not chase their rambunctious children through the aisles of a crowded store this weekend can take advantage of a free daycare service offered by the Howard Mohr Community Center.

During business hours on Saturday, Dec. 9, staff at the community center will entertain the children while mom and dad get a little holiday shopping done. With a receipt from any Forest Park business totaling $50 or more, the daycare is free. Beverly Thompson, executive director of the community center said the idea for daycare services was hatched by staff, but the village administrator suggested the partnership with area merchants.

“This is the first year we’ve done this,” Thompson said.

This weekend represents the last chance for parents to take advantage of the service. A similar offer was made for the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

However, according to Thompson, only one parent brought their child to the community center. During that weekend, receipts from restaurants and bars did not qualify parents for the free service. On Dec. 9, a $50 receipt from any Forest Park business is valid, Thompson said.

And for the kids, lunches, snacks, video games, movies, raffles and craft projects will be provided.

“Santa Claus will be coming in,” Thompson said. “We should keep them entertained.”

Village Administrator Mike Sturino said he’s hopeful families from in and around Forest Park will be drawn to local businesses by the offer of free daycare. This collaboration between the local government and its merchants further illustrates the village’s business friendly atmosphere, Sturino said.

“We’re trying to do what we can to promote Forest Park that’s friendly to family shoppers,” Sturino said.

The daycare service is available from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. for children ages 3 to 12. Without a receipt, the service is available for $5 an hour per child. The Howard Mohr Community Center is located at 7460 Jackson Blvd.