AAWGT: Making a difference in our community!
2015 GRANTEE: FOOD LINK
Emergency Baby Pantry
Food Link’s Emergency Baby Pantry program continues to serve families with infants and toddlers in crisis. Whether it is diapers and wipes, pull-ups, formula and baby bottles, hygiene items, clothing or medication, there is never a charge. The main pantry site resides within Food Link’s office space on Riva Road. All baby pantry items purchased, donated or provided by charitable events are taken to this location, divided and then distributed to all 9 pantry sites throughout Anne Arundel County. It is a yeoman’s job trying to keep up with demand at all the sites while finding organizations willing to conduct baby drives to fill in during periods of high demand and when grant monies are expended.
In times of crisis, this program remains the one consistent resource in our county. There have been increased requests for help through the county school system, Health Department and programs dealing with pregnant women who have nothing for their babies. In times of extreme duress, Food Link has arranged for immediate delivery of baby items to families temporarily housed in hotels or without any means of travel due to lack of money, vehicle, friends & family help or public transportation. The number of those at risk of homelessness and grandmothers or other family members stepping up to take care of babies to avoid placement in the foster care system, even without official custody agreements, continues to rise. This program is a lifeline for those families.
Since the start of AAWGT's grant in July 2015, the Emergency Baby Pantry on Riva Rd has helped over 400 children from this site alone. Both the West County and North County sites have helped more than 500 children each. The need for this program only escalates. A new baby pantry site has recently been established in Edgewater at Joy Reigns Church. In addition, Food Link has been asked to consult with three other locations interested in setting up a diaper bank-type program including the Infants and Toddlers Program in Howard County. Cathy Bird, Executive Director, stated “the grant from Anne Arundel Women Giving Together has been both a gift that continues to shine the light of compassion and hope while protecting our most vulnerable citizens – the babies in need.”