As part of the organization’s focus on healthy children and families, Heart of Florida United Way (HFUW) recently concluded its “Basics for Babies” community supply drive which benefits at-risk mothers and infants in Orange, Seminole and Osceola counties just in time for the holiday season. Since October, companies and individuals have collected thousands of dollars’ worth of vital infant care items such as diapers, wipes, formula, bottles, infant clothes, and blankets.
On Friday, December 13, a group of 10 volunteers assembled over 250 large bags full of baby supplies which will be delivered to Central Florida families through HFUW partner agencies such as BETA Center, SafeHouse of Seminole, Harbor House, the Coalition for the Homeless, Orange County Healthy Start Coalition, Help Now of Osceola and Orlando Day Nursery.
Many organizations, companies and individuals gave generously to this effort. Some of our major community supporters were FedEx, CNL Financial Group, Wells Fargo, Target, PCL Construction, Express Scripts, and Barry Law School Women Lawyers Association.
“The community support we received this year was amazing,” said Robert H. (Bob) Brown, president and CEO of Heart of Florida United Way. “Thanks to the generosity of many outstanding people and organizations, hundreds of Central Florida newborns will have a much happier, healthier holiday season.”
According to a recent study, concerns over how to pay for diapers are now among the top stressors for low income parents, next to food and housing. Up to 30 percent of new mothers are not able to afford enough diapers to change their babies as often as needed, and researchers found that as many as one in three mothers had cut back significantly on food, childcare, or utilities just to afford diapers for their newborn.
“The holiday season is an especially hard time for parents to have to choose between the basic needs of their babies and the overall household needs, let alone worry about holiday presents,” said Mata Dennis, Executive Director of Orlando Day Nursery. “Thanks to the generosity of our community and the collaborative effort of the Heart of Florida United Way, we are now able to provide assistance at a time of year when these families need it the most.”
We sincerely thank everyone who contributed either donations or their volunteer time to support this effort! Thanks to all of your help, we have been able to make a significant difference in the holiday season for hundreds of Central Florida’s smallest citizens and their families.
Submitted by Jessica M. Schwendeman, Manager of Community Participation, Heart of Florida United Way