It has now been a little over a month since social distancing went into place. With that came a rapid increase in need in our community. In just 5 weeks we have provided over 15,000 diapers to families. Some of these families were already being supported by us and our network of partners, but many of these diapers went to new families in need of support.
Our support during this difficult time has extended far beyond diapers. Here are some ways we are supporting families – and especially young children – in our community during this time…
With the onset of social distancing, we immediately jumped into action to make sure there were diapers, formula and other baby essentials like soap and diaper cream at every Richmond Public Schools food distribution site. That weekend we bundled up baby basics boxes for each site, and two weeks later restocked them. Each kit had diapers in every size to help families get through a couple days.
Within the first two weeks of social distancing, VCU Medical Center was already seeing an uptick in babies coming in for diaper rash because families couldn’t find diapers at store they could access, as well as weight issues because they couldn’t find, or suddenly couldn’t afford, formula. We bundled up 850 diapers for children coming into the emergency department and clinics at VCU. This enabled the hospital to send families home with a couple days worth of diapers.
When Virginia Kids Belong reached out to see if we could help provide diapers, toiletires and toys for babies for their Foster Care Survival Kits we immediately said “yes!” and last week dropped off items for 19 foster children.
Our direct, individual assistance continues as well. We helped set up a mom being reunited with her 5 children with baby gear to help get her back on her feet; assisted three moms with young children seeking shelter through the YWCA by providing car seats, strollers, clothes, formula, toys, and other baby gear; supported families experiencing homelessness with diapers and formula through Housing Families First and Home Again; and, provided diapers and baby essentials through partners including Family Lifeline, Richmond DSS, Henrico DSS, Chesterfield County Public Schools, YoungLives Metro Richmond, and more.
Even with social distancing, there are a handful of ways to support some of our regions most vulnerable – young children – during social distancing.
Donate Items – We now have 7 donation bins around Greater Richmond making it easier than ever to drop off in-kind donations. All bins outside Monday through Friday from 9am-5pm. Check out the map on our website to find the bin closest to you! The “How to Help” page on our website has a list of items we accept, as well as what has to be new and what “gently used” means. A huge “thank you” to the YMCA of Greater Richmond for placing donation bins at 6 of their branches (we are so excited about this new partnership!), and to Second Baptist Church for their ongoing generosity housing us!
Send a Target Gift Card – 15,000 diapers are a lot of diapers and we are constantly restocking sizes in addition to other basic items like baby soap, lotion, diaper cream, and clothes. We know leaving the house is tough, and if you’d like to help us restock we love Target gift cards! Gift cards can be purchased directly through our Target Baby Registry.
Volunteer – If you are interested in volunteering with us during this time, we have adjusted our model to be social distancing friendly. We are getting lots of in-kind donations and have lots of sorting to do! Sorting can be done on your own or with someone you know. We also need help delivering items to families and partners. And all delivery pick ups are no contact! Sign up to volunteer here.
It is a really hard time to leave the house and we totally get it. Many families are juggling two jobs, children at home all day, and the many impacts of social distancing on all aspects of life. We have been so fortunate to have volunteers willing to jump in and lend a helping hand during this crisis and it is only fitting to say an enormous “THANK YOU” to our volunteers this week during National Volunteer Week!