21 percent of children in the US live in poverty, a rate that has grown annually since 2006, according to Welcome Baby, a nonprofit that assists low-income families by providing them with a care package that encompasses essential items that are vital for newborns during the first four weeks of life.
In New York, Welcome Baby packages are distributed at NYU Langone, Mt. Sinai Hospital, Northern Manhattan Perinatal Partners, and now Bridgehampton-based Children’s Museum of the East End (CMEE).
“We are honored to partner with the Children’s Museum of the East End. CMEE and Welcome Baby share the passionate belief that we must invest in our communities and provide all children and families with the resources they need to thrive,” said Sarah Steinhardt, Welcome Baby’s co-founder. “This is a dream come true for us as not only do our children love CMEE, but we also feel deeply connected to the East End community.”
The comprehensive care packages will be available to expectant mothers that partake CMEE’s outreach initiatives. Welcome Baby consulted with hospitals, clinics, health care providers, and mothers to create the care packages, which include 220 diapers, wipes, rash creams, a baby carrier, bottles, a thermometer, a grooming kit, clothing, baby wash and moisturizer, swaddle blankets, pacifiers, socks, and mittens.
“There’s a perception outside the community that everyone in the Hamptons is well-off, but in our outreach efforts, we see countless families struggling to provide basic necessities,” Steve Long, the Museum’s President, noted. “By partnering with ‘Welcome Baby,’ we can offer resources to new parents that they otherwise couldn’t access or afford.”
Welcome Baby decided to focus on the first four weeks because there is “nothing more delicate and difficult than the first four weeks after delivery, when babies and mothers are navigating stressful, uncharted territory without support or resources. Newborns are highly susceptible to germs and highly sensitive to the world outside the womb. Mothers are still recovering from the physical and emotional upheaval accompanying birth and new parenthood,” according to their website. “Babies who lack diapers, wipes, rash creams, and comfortable clothes frequent doctors’ offices and emergency rooms more often, further tilting the balance against them, exacerbating the strain on resources, and increasing the emotional toll on new mothers. It can be a relentless cycle that completely undermines the space, structure, and vigilance needed to build a solid foundation for a child’s development and for healthy and successful parenting.”
CMEE, which is one of Eastern Long Island’s most visited museums, hosts more than 75,000 museum-goers each year. Its mission is “to spark imagination and foster learning for children of all backgrounds and abilities and to build strong connections within the East End community by providing playful experiences.”
Children’s Museum of the East End is located at 376 Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike in Bridgehampton. For more information about Children’s Museum of the East End, visit www.cmee.org. For more information about Welcome Baby, visit welcomebabyusa.org.