Baby Basics – Family Snapshot Stories

Jacob began receiving diapers when he was nine months old. He lives with his young father and grandparents. His father works at a restaurant during the day while his grandmother babysits Jacob and his little cousin. (His grandmother is usually the one who picks up diapers at our once-a-month distributions.)  His grandmother works a swing shift so Jacob spends evenings with his father and grandfather. His father hopes to attend college or a trade school part-time. The family heard about Baby Basics through Hopelink.

Kyle was a newborn when he entered the Baby Basics program. We’ve had fun watching him grow from a tiny baby to a healthy toddler. His single mother works full-time at a local retail business to support Kyle and two school-aged children. Friends, relatives and part-time daycare provide childcare for Kyle. His family heard about the program through the School District’s Family Connection Counselors.

Edwin’s mom was referred to Baby Basics through a School District’s Family Connection Counselor where his sister attends. They were on the wait list for almost six months in 2016. They received one-time emergency diapers during that time and were given contact info for other community resources. When Edwin was eight months old, there was an open spot in the program. Edwin’s father works two jobs: one for a large local athletic club and the other for a cleaning company. When Edwin is a little older, his mother plans to work again. He is a sweet, shy little guy and loves his mom and sister.

Gwen entered the Baby Basics program when she was a year old. Her mom is still in high school and they live with Gwen’s grandparents who are hardworking and low-income. Gwen is a happy, healthy toddler.  Her mom is struggling to finish high school and will not graduate with her class. She works part-time at a fast food restaurant while attending school and parenting her little girl. She dropped out of high school at one point and may not now be attending. They were referred by a family member who knew about the program from Jubilee Reach.

One of the newest babies in our program, Anna, is four months old. Her parents learned about Baby Basics from the Family Connections Counselor at her brother’s school. Her father works full time for a local landscaping service. Anna’s mom does not work outside the home now and plans to work again as a housecleaner when her children are a little older.

These families all live, work and go to school in Bellevue while some other families we serve only work in Bellevue or go to school in Bellevue. Most live near Crossroads Mall. We have had a student from Eastside Academy and currently, we have several teen moms. Their stories show their lives to be challenging with minimum wage jobs, low education and living with extended family in small apartments. Generally, the families in the Baby Basics program are hopeful and want their children to have an education, more job opportunities than is available for them and a better future for their families. It is a privilege to get to know them and to watch their babies grow. They are all very grateful and sometimes embarrassed that they need help. Homelessness is very real to most of the families in the program.  Some have experienced homelessness and some have avoided it by living with extended family in crowded conditions.

“Love Where You Are” by donating diapers to build healthy families. Diapers 4, 5, and 6 are especially needed. Drop off diapers at playpens in lobbies on Mother’s Day or BelPres office.

WHY DIAPERS?

When I first heard the idea for Baby Basics in January 2012, I asked the same question that many ask, “Why diapers?” It’s a fair question since diapers are not exciting or even interesting unless you need them and cannot afford them. One in three moms in America struggles to provide their babies with diapers.  Babies who aren’t changed frequently enough are at a greater risk for diaper rash and other health issues.  The need for diapers is a silent crisis in our community.

As much as diapers seem like a mundane item for families with young children, they are a significant budget item for low-income parents and a necessity for a baby’s hygiene and well-being. And crying and sick babies can cause extra stress in homes where there is already financial stress and potentially other stresses.

Baby Basics Bellevue was “born” out of learning about this diaper need and the toll it takes on babies and their families. Our goal is to help babies thrive and to support families stay above the poverty line.  Food stamps and WIC (Women Infant Children supplemental nutritional program) cannot be used to purchase diapers and that there are no government subsidies for diapers.  By providing the necessity of diapers and connecting families to other services in the community, Baby Basics also helps alleviate the stress of living on the edge for those in our program.

Even with two working parents, one of the families that Baby Basics Bellevue has had the opportunity to get to know and serve has experienced the stress of living on the edge financially. Here is their story:

Baby Basics has been such a blessing to my family. We moved to Bellevue in May 2015. We lost our home in the Spring due to the rising cost of rent in the Seattle area. My husband Robert and I have always had employment, but we could not keep up with the rent increases and the costs to support our family. We were placed in transitional housing in Bellevue through Attain Housing, a program based in Kirkland. While meeting our caseworker weekly, she informed us of Hopelink, our neighborhood resource center, and food bank. She also sent a referral to Baby Basics of Bellevue for us. Robert was working, and I was on maternity leave at the time.

Wow, what a blessing this program has been to us! Relying on diapers from a food bank is a hit or miss. You get a few diapers two times a week with whatever sizes they have available. I quickly switched career paths and started working for Hopelink in June. I am still able to utilize Hopelink’s services, as this is our neighborhood service center.

Even though we are a two-parent household with both of us are working, it is stressful struggling to pay for food and necessities because we make too much to qualify for benefits, yet not enough to be fully self-sufficient. We fall into the gap and that is where the struggle is. A program that provides enough diapers each month for your baby is completely and utterly amazing! This program not only encourages people to get employed and get off government assistance, but they help you beyond just providing diapers.  They are extremely kindhearted and loving individuals, you can tell they love what they are doing.

Thank you, Baby Basics, for all you do for us families that need it. You are such a blessing and inspiration! It has encouraged me to want to start a program like this in the future.”  Meghan P.

As we move forward in 2017, Baby Basics’ challenge and privilege is to continue to respond to the requests for assistance with diapers and with referrals to other agencies able to provide for other needs. Since 2012, Baby Basics Bellevue has distributed over 150,000 diapers to families in the program as well as families in crisis and homeless shelters.

The impact of diapers is far-reaching, helping babies and their families toward positive outcomes. Baby Basics literally needs caring, helping hands to carry on the work we are doing. As a 100% volunteer-run non-profit, we can only do what we do because volunteers give the gift of time, expertise, and kindness.

We are grateful for the support of our generous community!

 

To help meet this great need and raise awareness in our community, Baby Basics Bellevue is having their 5th annual Mother’s Day Diaper Drive. The gift of diapers is an ideal way to honor mothers and to show support for low-income working moms (and dads!) on the Eastside. Your gift of diapers this May will help to cover a little bottom and will make a big difference to a family. Diapers in sizes 3, 4, 5, and 6 are especially needed.

On Mother’s Day, May 14, Bellevue Presbyterian Church is collecting diaper donations for Baby Basics. Donation bins will be in the church’s main lobby and the Upper Campus.

 

Basically Wonderful: Baby Basics of Bellevue

Fall, the time of harvest and thanksgiving, is a vivid reminder of the importance of intentional planning, and moving forward with purpose. This is the time of year when we reach out to ask for your volunteer help to continue to providing diapers for low-income young families in our community.

On the Eastside, Baby Basics is one of several “safety net” organizations working for the well-being of poor and low-income families. Poverty, sadly, is a growing problem in our country and in our community. Our purpose is to provide diapers that help babies thrive and help families stay above the poverty line. We also help connect families to other services in the community if they have other needs. It is rewarding to be a part of a larger effort that advocates for poor and low-income families.

October marked the beginning of our fourth year distributing diapers, and by early 2016 we will ????????????????????????????????????have distributed 100,000 diapers. The impact of these diapers is far-reaching. Baby Basics literally needs caring, helping hands to carry on the work we are doing.  As a 100% volunteer-run non-profit, we can only do what we do because volunteers are giving the gift of time, expertise, and kindness.We currently need helping hands and caring hearts to carry on the work of Baby Basics, from bundling and distributing diapers twice a month to working with families by responding to their requests for assistance.

Thank you for reaching out to meet the needs of low-income families on the Eastside.
Contact Get Connected to get involved.