Because cribs, car seats and baby clothes are often unaffordable for families experiencing poverty
BY TARA MACINNIS
Diapers, cribs, toys, clothes—babies need a ton of stuff. It’s no secret that many of these items come at a hefty cost, and those experiencing poverty or facing homelessness often can’t afford these necessities. That’s why so many shelters and charities that serve women accept donations of baby and maternity gear.
“Pregnancy is an especially vulnerable time in a woman’s life, and can compound the hardships she is facing,” says Gwen Broda, founder of the New Mom Project, a volunteer organization in Toronto that provides baby necessities to families experiencing poverty. “For us, providing baby gear goes beyond the items and helps to address deeper issues that affect the mom and baby’s health. For instance, we provided a car seat and stroller to a new family who otherwise could not get out to buy groceries or go to doctor’s appointments. These items are life-changing for our clients, and it’s easy for us, who can afford them, to take them for granted.”
If you have gently used baby gear that you’d like to donate, or if you’d like to give the gift of brand-new items, here are five charities in the GTA that are in need.
The organization:Jessie’s Centre, The June Callwood Centre for Young Women, 205 Parliament St., Toronto How to donate: Jessie’s, a United Way-funded agency, accepts all gently used items (in excellent condition) that expecting moms, new moms and babies might need. Email email@example.com to find out when you can drop items off. Who it helps: Jessie’s Centre aims to empower teenage women who are pregnant or new moms (and their children) who are also facing poverty and other obstacles. It helps young women access health services, find a safe place to live and complete their high school education.
The organization:The New Mom Project, 1450 O’Connor Dr., Building 2, Unit 101, East York How to donate: You can drop off items during the project’s office hours, which are Thursdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org to set up an alternate time. Who it helps: The New Mom Project is all about helping marginalized families get the baby basics they need; they collect both new and gently used baby clothing, blankets, toys and books to pass along to families in need, free of charge.
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The organization:The Diaper Bank, various locations throughout the GTA How to donate: The Diaper Bank accepts diapers (whether they’re loose, or in opened or sealed packages), wipes and baby formula at a network of drop-off locations in Toronto, as well as locations in Hamilton, Burlington, Oakville, Brampton and Oshawa. No appointments are necessary; in fact, some of the locations are private residences, so donations can be left on the doorstep if no one’s home. Who it helps: What started in 2010 as a simple diaper drive has turned into a registered charity that distributes diapers to families in the GTA who are experiencing poverty. Donations are distributed through local food banks, daycare centres, social service agencies and shelters.
The organization:Yellow Brick House, 52 West Beaver Creek Rd., Unit 4, Richmond Hill How to donate: This women’s shelter is currently accepting donations of new items, which can be dropped off on Mondays between 9 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. and Tuesdays to Fridays from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Who it helps: Yellow Brick House serves women and children who have been abused. Their current wish list includes crib sets; baby monitors; diaper bags; winter PJs for infants, kids, teens and women; and activewear for women, among other items.
The organization:Safetynet, 1317 Speers Rd., Oakville How to donate: The Speers Rd. location accepts drop-offs and is open weekdays from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., but they also have a 24-hour donation bin at 482 South Service Rd. East in Oakville. They are currently accepting winter gear, and encourage people dropping items off to bring in newly purchased underwear and socks, too, as they’re always in demand. Who it helps: Safetynet is a charity focused on giving families access to the essentials, like clothing, furniture and diapers, and they also provide free tutoring and music lessons. Their clothing bank has items for the entire family, including babies.
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