As inflation soars, 1,000 families gifted infant care essentials at region-wide distributions
BOSTON – United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley celebrated its 12th annual Community Baby Shower on Saturday, May 7. The annual event was held during Mother’s Day weekend this year to support new and expectant parents experiencing economic hardship and connect them with newborn essentials, as well as maternal and early childhood resources.
The event supports families across Greater Boston, the North Shore, Merrimack Valley, and Greater Attleboro. United Way distributed 1,000 gift bags across ten locations in Attleboro, Dorchester, East Boston, Hyde Park, Lawrence, Lynn, Mattapan, Roxbury, and South Boston to families who had pre-registered for the event. Bags include a month’s supply of diapers and baby wipes, a $50 cash gift card, a “baby basics” folder with information about local maternal health and wellness resources, a onesie, blanket, baby lotion, baby shampoo, and other goods.
“Families are struggling to get by due to the confluence of pandemic-related economic strains, from supply chain issues to the labor shortage, and now inflation at its highest point in more than 40 years,” said Bob Giannino, President and CEO at United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley. “The need for this annual community event has never been greater. We are so thankful for our sponsors, volunteers, and community partners for all that they’ve done and continue to do to support children and families throughout the region.”
Gifts were distributed in collaboration with the following United Way community partners serving predominantly low-income families: Attleboro Area Interfaith Collaborative, Boston Medical Center, Catholic Charities Boston, Community Action, East Boston Social Centers, Family Nurturing Center of Massachusetts, Greater Lawrence Community Action Council, Immigrant Family Service Institute, LEO, South Boston Neighborhood House, The Community Group, and YMCA of Greater Boston. This year, United Way also collaborated with the Boston Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta to promote and coordinate distribution at the Thelma Burns Building in Roxbury.
“Family Nurturing Center is thrilled to be partnering again with the United Way and its volunteers to celebrate babies and provide new and expecting parents with generous gifts and resources,” said Richard Claytor, Director of Programs at Family Nurturing Center. “We and our Boston Family Engagement Network partners offer Welcome Baby home visits and family support programs in neighborhoods across the city. For years, the Community Baby Shower has been an important outreach tool for those programs. We were so excited to connect with parents and babies in person this Mother’s Day weekend.”
Agencies made the distribution events fun celebrations with balloons, music, decorations, games, and prizes. In addition to the in-person events, two virtual baby showers were held on Friday, May 6, open to the public and with interpretation services in Spanish. Attendees connected with fellow expectant mothers, learned about the benefits of reading and sensory stimulation for infants, and were provided maternal health and early childhood development resources.
Thousands of families have attended United Way’s Community Baby Shower since the first event was held at Hibernian Hall in Roxbury in 2011. This year’s corporate sponsors include PNC Bank, Amazon, EF Education First, Onex, Tufts Health Plan, AEW, Boston Consulting Group, Institution for Savings, Bedrock Recovery Center, and Liberty Mutual.