July 29, 2020
Basically Babies continue to serve in-need families during the pandemic thanks to a Rapid Response grant from ECF to purchase updated cleaning supplies
A newborn baby impacts a family in many ways, but sadly, for families in need, caring for a baby can present significant hardships.
Even in the best of times, marginalized and extreme-need families face plenty of challenges, especially during pregnancy. The COVID-19 pandemic has only heightened the stress these families face. They all have a common factor – a newborn and the inability to provide the necessities.
Basically Babies is a charity that provides a basic outfitting set of needs for newborn babies born into families living in situations of extreme need. The organization delivers layettes, which include 110 items including clothing, books, toys, and blankets, to families.
Many of the items Basically Babies delivers are from donations, and they rely on volunteers to help package and deliver the layettes. The pandemic has forced Basically Babies to stop accepting donations, and to restructure their distribution method. Without updated cleaning supplies, the organization would have to cease operation, which would put many new families without basic supplies at risk.
“We’ve had a temporary closure with no donations, volunteers or financial contributions,” says Shannon Stewart, President of Basically Babies. “And so, what we’ve had is a situation where we have a small staff of five part-time workers and our board, and we have continued to deliver our program fully within the past 13 weeks.”
COVID-19 has changed how Basically Babies operates, but it doesn’t change the need. Thanks to a $4,100 grant from Edmonton Community Foundation, Basically Babies purchased hands-free devices such as paper towel, soap, and sanitizer dispensers. Personal protective equipment and hygiene and disinfecting products were also purchased.
“Like other organizations that rely on volunteers and community donations, Basically Babies didn’t have resources set aside for these extraordinary times,” says Craig Stumpf-Allen, ECF’s Director of Grants and Community Engagement. “To keep serving Edmonton’s newborns, they needed the equipment and supplies to keep everyone safe.”
ECF seeded the Rapid Response Fund (RRF) on March 25 with $500,000 of its discretionary dollars. To date, ECF has provided a combined total of $1,258,050 to support Edmonton’s charitable sector through the pandemic.
The pandemic may have caused an onset of worries for new families, but providing their newborns with necessities isn’t one of them, thanks to Basically Babies.
“We have a certain amount of protocol and processes in place that would ensure these families are getting an excellent and very clean product, but we wouldn’t have been able to continue our program without some of these additional protocols put in place,” says Stewart. “We’re really grateful to ECF for being so quick to recognize and respond to our need.”
Learn more about ECF’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic here.