As residents of NYC, we tend to have very little space for stuff, especially for stuff we don’t need anymore. As our second child outgrows all the gear, clothes, and toys that we have acquired over 4+ years of child-rearing, we wanted to find a place to donate items that are still in good condition, but we don’t need anymore. After a lot of research, we found Baby Buggy, a non-profit organization dedicated to “providing New York City’s families in need with essential equipment, clothing, and products for their infants and young children.” We donated four bags of items and the “giving” experience was great and all donations are tax-deductible! Baby Buggy’s website lists the items they accept and the process for donation.
I thought my experience would end there, but a few weeks later, I received a note in the mail from the Executive Director of the organization, Katherine Snider. She was so happy to receive a donation from a Dad and wanted to figure out how to get more Dads involved. One thing led to another, and I visited the Baby Buggy headquarters last week to learn more about the operation and brainstorm ways to get our group involved.
Jessica Seinfeld (Jerry’s wife) started Baby Buggy with some friends in 2001 because they had the same problem we do– what to do with all the baby “stuff” that is perfectly useful, but not needed anymore. Jessica’s mother is a social worker, so Jessica was very aware that many families would be happy to receive these items. With some very smart advice from her Mom, Jessica decided to support existing non-profits that target families rather than reinvent the wheel by trying to connect with families directly. Baby Buggy is now working with over fifty community organizations in all five boroughs to meet the needs of their clients.
Every organization has a story, but I was very impressed with the partnership that has developed between Baby Buggy and Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP). This organization works with low-income, first-time mothers during their pregnancy and the first two years of their child’s life to “improve pregnancy outcomes for the mothers; improve child health and development by helping parents provide more responsible and competent care for their child; and improve a mother’s economic self-sufficiency by helping her develop a vision for her own future, plan future pregnancies, and continue her education and find work.” Baby Buggy supports NFP by providing critical items that are very expensive but necessary in creating a safe environment for a child. For example, a visiting nurse will bring a baby bathtub, provided by Baby Buggy, when he/she comes to teach the mother about safely bathing a child. When teaching about safe sleeping, the visiting nurse brings a new crib and mattress provided by Baby Buggy. This reinforces NFP’s curriculum and removes some of the financial burden from the parent.
With all of this and more in mind, I committed myself to helping Katherine get more Dads involved. I was curious why they cared about Dads? They seem to be doing just fine with the 100% female “Friends of Baby Buggy” team. Katherine explained that Baby Buggy and their community partners are working on getting more Dads involved with their families, and this would be a lot more effective if Dads were involved with Baby Buggy. Stay tuned for ways the NYC Dads Group supports this amazing organization!