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United Way Blog

Communities Shower Moms-to-Be with Baby Essentials

Let’s face it, babies are expensive. And when you add up the cost of must-haves like diapers, wipes, formula, toys, clothes and equipment, most of us will feel the pinch.

A recent USDA report finds that the average middle-income family will spend $12,350 annually on child-related expenses in their baby’s first two years of life. For families living below the poverty line, financial challenges make it difficult to purchase critical items that are needed for children to get a strong start in life.

To help, United Way of Buffalo & Erie County hosts an annual Community Baby Shower to support mothers living below the poverty line by providing essential items like diapers, digital thermometers, sleep sacks and more. Each year, more than 5,000 babies in Erie County are born into poverty and are at higher risk of health issues due to a lack of prenatal care. The event, which was launched in 2010 in response to this stark statistic, has benefited more than 6,000 families since its inception. This year, nearly 70 companies, organization, schools and individuals are hosting showers that will benefit up to 2,000 moms and babies.

“Being a parent is stressful for anyone at any age, but caring for a newborn when you lack basic resources can be particularly challenging and can lead to health risks for babies,” said Michael Weiner, President and CEO of United Way of Buffalo & Erie County. “Many times these new items provide a sense of community caring for new mothers at a time that they can feel very alone.”

In Wausau, Wisconsin, United Way of Marathon County is hosting its second annual Community Baby Shower for moms-to-be.  Items like diaper bags, bottles and clothes will be distributed to moms and babies via community organizations that work with them.  Last year, more than 2,700 diapers and 4,000 wipes were delivered to families in need.

Financial hardships can be stressful to manage.  Add to that the challenges of providing for a new baby, and life can become overwhelming. Community Baby Showers can help ease some of the burden while free financial planning tools like MySmartMoney, launched by United Way and the Sun Trust Foundation, can help everyone, regardless of income level, better manage their money and plan for major life events – like welcoming a new baby into the family.