More than diapers

“Is it enough?”

It’s the question put to Chris Hunt, Early Learning Director for Community Teamwork, a United Way partner agency in Lowell which supports low income individuals and families as they work toward financial stability. He contemplates his answer in the bright sun of a warm autumn day, with two big bags of “Baby Basics” in his hands.

As someone on the front lines, Hunt and his staff see the need and he confesses, at times, it can be overwhelming. There are budget cuts. And wait lists. But there is also success and progress and it’s being made one family at a time and, that, Chris acknowledges, makes it all worth it.

“Our staff can see the difference we make,” he says. “They see that change every day. And seeing those results drives us forward.”chris

The Baby Basics bags, 75 in total, all collated by staff at the Lowell office of United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, were filled with infant necessities like diapers, bottles, wipes, washcloths, clothing, lotion, bibs, pacifiers and rattles.

The bags were then distributed to Community Teamwork and the Lowell YWCA (also a United Way partner agency). Simultaneously, 50 “Launch a Learner” literacy kits, containing books and literacy supplies, headed out to Lowell public schools. Interactive Data in Bedford, MA put on the drives to gather the supplies for both the Baby Basics and Launch a Learner kits.

“It is hard to describe the gratitude shared from each of these partners,” said Diane Franz, Director of Community Impact for United Way. “But it was not difficult to feel it as we helped to load their cars and to deliver what did not fit into their vehicles!”

For Chris Hunt, it’s more than a simple gift; it’s the first step on a path to sustainability.

“These aren’t just a one-time donation,” he said. “This can help us go the extra mile for our families. Because for them it’s one day at a time and if we can help them get through that day we can help them get through that month, and that year, and beyond.”