(914) Cares recently announced its newest initiative, Baby Bank Westchester, a program that provides basic necessities and essentials for babies, 0-2. The initial goal of the program will help 100 families in need by providing six months of basic necessities for their babies, ages 0-2. Donors will be able to help through a registry wish list as well as a series of community held baby showers across the county in order to begin stocking needed items for the Baby Bank shelves. The formal launch of the program will begin on September 1st, at which time they will be providing a variety of basic necessities to selected recipients.
The mission of the Baby Bank is to help local families in need keep their babies clean, healthy and happy. To do this, they will provide basic necessities and essentials including diapers, hygiene products (diaper cream, baby soap, shampoo, etc.), pack n’ plays, strollers, car seats, and other necessities (swaddlers, etc). In order to identify potential recipients, The Baby Bank will partner with two outstanding local agencies, Westcop and Open Door. In addition, they will work with school districts across the county to help pregnant teens and their families.
(914) cares is uniquely positioned to address this need in the county because of the existing infrastructure of Kids’ Kloset (another (914) Cares program) and the relationships that are in place with other local non-profits, Social Service agencies, schools, etc.. It is through these relationships that the need for the Baby Bank became clear:
• There is no state or federal assistance for the purchase of diapers, diaper rash cream, bathing products, strollers, car seats or other basic necessities.
• Families living below the poverty line are being forced to choose between basic essentials, like food or utilities, and basic necessities for their babies.
• Without an ample supply of hygiene products and diapers, babies often suffer from physical ailments such as severe diaper rash, which can lead to high levels of mental stress for both parents and child.
• Families who can’t afford basic necessities for their babies often struggle with the logistical aspects of day care, child care or early education programs. Without proper transportation or supplies to leave their children, parents are forced to miss work or school.
12.3% of children in Westchester County live in poverty, with some areas exceeding 20% and there are 51,000 households in Westchester that have an income of less than $24,000 per year. With the average family spending $12,600 on child-related expenses in their baby’s first year of life, it is clear that a Baby Bank is needed in our community.
There are many ways that those who have the means to help can participate: donating funds for the purchase of necessities, volunteering time to sort through items or hosting a baby show as a collection drive.