It’s the perfect time of year to help new moms and babies.
By Julie Saetre
August is an especially momentous month for many parents in the United States: According to the National Center for Health Statistics in the U.S., August earns the honor of the month with the largest number of births. In 2021, 329,978 babies made their entrance into the world in August.
Why is that important for members of the Kiwanis family? Because more babies means more parents who could use a helping hand. To help give babies and their parents the best possible start together, consider planning a service project to address their new needs. Take inspiration from these successful Kiwanis club initiatives.
Host a diaper drive. Every year, the Kiwanis Club of Raleigh, North Carolina, partners with the Saint Saviour Center, a community service organization that started the county’s first diaper-bank service. Kiwanis club members collect diapers and wipes, neither of which are provided in traditional government support programs. In fact, the Saint Saviour Center reports that one in three parents must choose between diapers for their children or food each month. The Kiwanians’ annual diaper drives help the center assist more than 900 babies every month.
Celebrate with a shower. In 2019, the Kiwanis Club of Northeast Miami-Dade, Florida, launched the World’s Greatest Baby Shower for expectant and new parents, attracting more than 500 attendees. Now an annual event, the shower includes breakfast and lunch and features experts on health, parenting, early childhood and prenatal needs. Guests attend workshops on parenting skills, nutrition for pregnant moms, breastfeeding, prenatal health and more and earn raffle tickets for a chance to win items such as car seats, strollers and highchairs. Representatives of organizations including Healthy Start, United Way and The Early Learning Coalition discuss available programming and resources, while new or soon-to-be big brothers and sisters make puppets, listen to stories and try yoga.
Help prevent childhood injuries. The Kiwanis Pediatric Trauma Institute, part of the Tufts Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts, offers free Early Childhood Injury Prevention kits that Kiwanis clubs can distribute to doctors’ offices, hospital maternity wards, mothers’ groups, day care centers, birthing education centers and prenatal/pediatric clinics. Every Kiwanis club in the New England and Bermuda District can distribute up to 200 kits each year. Each kit contains a car seat identification sticker, a child passenger safety booklet, shaken baby syndrome and sudden infant death syndrome prevention information, car safety information, a burn prevention brochure, a home safety checklist and tips for window and electrical-outlet safety. Also, a temperature-sensitive “bath duck” helps prevent burns from bathwater.
Looking for something that requires less prep and fewer hands? Try one of these options:
- Knit baby blankets or booties for newborns at an area hospital.
- Interview parenting experts and distribute parenting tip worksheets to organizations helping inexperienced moms and dads.
- Provide new slow cookers, healthful recipes and pantry staples to families in need.
- Donate new or gently used board books for babies to groups supporting new moms.