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'Community Baby Shower' to assist Erie County moms & babies in need

by jmaloni

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Fri, Mar 31st 2017 06:25 pm

8th annual United Way event encourages donations of baby necessities for those living below poverty line

The United Way of Buffalo & Erie County will encourage donations to help at-risk mothers and their babies in Erie County as it kicks off its eighth annual "Community Baby Shower" on Monday, April 3. Typical baby necessities, including diapers, wipes, digital thermometers and baby board books for Erie County's youngest residents, are being sought for the program, which will run through May 11.

The communitywide effort, organized by the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County, supports mothers living below the poverty line with critical items for their young children to get a strong start in life. Individuals and local companies can get involved by making a direct donation or by hosting a baby shower with friends, colleagues, neighbors or family to encourage more people to get involved and support Erie County's youngest families. Financial contributions are also welcomed and will be used to purchase critical items for babies.

The constituents of three United Way-funded nonprofit agencies that serve young families will receive the donated items. This includes the Catholic Charities of Buffalo WIC program, the Buffalo Prenatal Perinatal Network and the Jericho Road Community Health Center.

Erie County Medical Center and Townsquare Media are 2017 sponsors of the "Community Baby Shower."

Each year, more than 5,000 babies are born into poverty and are at higher risk of health issues due to a lack of prenatal care. Each week, nine babies are born to women receiving no or late prenatal care; 22 are born pre-term; 16 are low birth weight; and one will not survive to reach 1 year of age.

The baby shower, which has supported more than 6,000 families since its inception in 2010, was created in response to these stark statistics as a way to give moms and their babies a stronger, healthier start in life.

Michael Weiner, United Way president and CEO, said, "Being a parent is stressful for anyone at any age, but caring for a newborn when you lack basic resources can be particularly challenging and can lead to health risks for babies. We know from past experience that Western New York is very generous, so we are confident that we will be able to help support many new moms this year. Many times these new items provide a sense of community caring for new mothers at a time that they can feel very alone. By providing some of the essentials that young families need, our community can help give a stronger start in life for their babies."

Brand-new baby items including diapers, wipes, sleep sacks, board books and digital thermometers are most in need and can be dropped off at the United Way offices at 742 Delaware Ave., Buffalo, through May 11. Donations of any type of new baby items as well as cash donations or gift cards will be gratefully accepted.

For more information on how to host a baby shower, to sign up as a host, and see the wish list, contact Suzette O'Brien at [email protected] or 716-887-2744. United Way can provide hosts with promotional materials and speakers for their event. If you or someone you know is an expectant mother in need of assistance, contact Western New York 2-1-1 for information on available services (dial 2-1-1 or 1-888-696-9211).

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