|Posted on October 24, 2011 at 10:35 AM|
Often times when I am asked how do we know that the families Inland NW Baby provides support for are really in need I struggle how to answer the question. Do I answer it with the short answer of: All of the families we support have been identified as being in need by a case worker, family services coordinator or other advocate by one of our agency partners.
That answer does not really provide the whole story. So I would like to take a moment to paint you a picture of what our "families" look like.
Imagine coming to Spokane to visit your mother whose health is not good. You are pregnant with your first child and you have traveled all the way from the Mid-West. You are about 28 weeks along in your pregnancy and the doctor says you need to travel now or wait until after the baby is born. You arrive excited to share this time and then without warning you go into labor. You are rushed to the hospital and the doctors are unable to stop your labor and you deliver a very tiny baby. You are told that the baby will have to stay in the NICU for at least 8 weeks and even then it will be too small for all the clothes you have been given. The social worker at Deaconess contacts Inland NW Baby who is able to provide a complete preemie layette including diapers.
No one questions that economic times are tough right now. Some families have been hit harder than others like the family that lives in a nice suburban neighborhood with their 4 children, dog and cat. Both parents have lost their good paying jobs in their career fields and now find themselves working for little more than minimum wage. This family had no funds for school clothes and supplies, and diapers. Because of the help they received they were able to still make their mortgage payment and hold on to their home. What we don't need in this community is another homeless family and house going into foreclosure. Just a little bit helps prevent that from happening.
What about the young teen parents who are wanting to finish their high school education but have no family to support them while they do so. Inland NW Baby provided clothes and diapers to many of these young parents in the 2010-2011 school year. Of those we supported, 22 of them made it through to graduation!
There is no typical family picture that we support with clothes, diapers, toys and equipment. They are from diverse socio-economic backgrounds and can live in Spokane, Kootenai and Stevens Counties. What they have in common is that they need a temporary hand up. They need to know that someone cares about their struggle.
When asked what Inland NW Baby provides to this community we have a list of tangible items. I think it is time we add hope to the list.