United Way of Southern Chautauqua County’s Community Baby Item Collection Estimates Over $9,300 in Value

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Pictured front to back, left to right: Jenny Rohlin & Cathy Burgess (Chaut. Co. Maternal & Infant Health), Grace McKenzie and Debra Felton (Catholic Charities WIC), Jenny Rowe (Mental Health Association), Cynde Johnson, UWAYSCC Marketing & Resource Development, Michelle Cobb (YWCA TEAM Program), Diana Butcher, Felicia Battle &Leslie DeSantis (Salvation Army ANEW Center), Joyce Bess (The Baby Café), and Darien Holt (Mental Health Association)

Article Contributed by
United Way

Efforts to improve early child development are an investment, not a cost.  Available cost-benefit ratios of early intervention indicate that for every dollar spent on improving early childhood development, returns can be on average 4 to 5 times the amount invested, and in some cases, much higher.

United Way of Southern Chautauqua County annually coordinates community baby item collections to gather essential items that will give our community’s infants a better future. Local worksites get creative and host their own baby showers as team building activities or just simply a way to get together and have fun while helping our local community. The Chautauqua County Maternal and Infant Health program coordinates a Community-Wide Baby Shower event in the Fall, that includes over 30 local organizations providing education and guidance for local moms.  There’s educational seminars for breast feeding, car seat safety, domestic violence, drug and alcohol prevention, safe sleep and hygiene.

“A little really goes a long way,” states Cynde Johnson, Resource Development and Marketing Coordinator for United Way.  “Collectively our community has come together and done an amazing job to provide the essentials for moms and babies; this will help ensure that families receive the right materials and the right education to go along with them.” Johnson was amazed at the attendance and programming during last year’s Community-Wide Baby Shower Event and was hoping to build a positive response this year. Her hope turned into reality with the over $9,300 worth of diapers, strollers, bathtubs, books and other baby items that were collected. “One of our agencies shared with me that they had a client with a 6-week old baby who became homeless and she was almost out of diapers.  This initiative helped alleviate the stress of her situation, and filled the immediate need as she connects with local human services care and focuses on getting her and her baby back on track to a successful future. This is just one instance of many that we make a collective impact in our community.” Added Johnson, “United We Fight From Cradle, To Career. United We Win.”

This year’s collection efforts were successful because of some incredible community partners, Dewittville-Mayville United Methodist Women, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Lane Women’s Health Group, Moonbrook Ladies Golf Club, Bookclub Members and the Give BIGCHQ fundraiser spearheaded by the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation.

These items were recently distributed to local agencies that work one-on-one with mothers to provide education and case management: Salvation Army’s ANEW Center, Chautauqua County Department of Health & Human Services’ Maternal & Infant Health Program, YWCA’s TEAM &; Transitions Program, Catholic Charities’ WIC Program, Mental Health Association and The Baby Cafe who all work routinely with expecting and new moms.

To learn more about community baby item collections, visit: uwayscc.org or call 483-1561. Follow United
Way of Southern Chautauqua County on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.