Families welcoming a little one into the world buy a laundry list of items, from baby clothes to diapers.
Yet for low-income households, layers need to be balanced with other essentials, including utilities and rent.
“You can’t buy [diapers] with WIC. You can’t buy them with food stamps, “said Shelly Pollock, founder and president of Earthbound Angels.” A baby without diapers can’t go to daycare, so mom can’t go to work … Another solution, Unfortunately, mom can leave baby in the diaper longer than she should, baby has diaper rash, he gets sick, baby cries all the time, mom is too stressed … and God forbid, mom pulls out or shakes the baby. ”
A 2013 study from the Yale School of Medicine and the New Haven Mental Health Outreach for MotherS (MOMS) Partnership found that “mothers who can’t afford diapers are also more likely to report symptoms of depression and anxiety â.
Earthbound Angels, a nonprofit organization founded by Pollock in 2015, helps families with diapers and other household needs because “we want healthy babies and we want healthy parents and stress free parents. “she said.
Yet like many nonprofits in the region affected by the coronavirus pandemic, Earthbound Angels has faced low volunteer participation and a drop in donations.
On October 26, Pollock posted to Facebook, announcing that November 27 would be the last day for the nonprofit’s physical location at 7423 US Highway 271 South in Fort Smith. Earthbound Angels will rotate to a virtual format.
âContact us via Facebook with your needs and we’ll do what we can to help you. We’re down but we’re NOT out,â she wrote.
âI’ve been paying $ 550 for almost six years and would be receiving donations,â Pollock told The Times Record. âI would keep them because I knew I needed $ 6,600 to get through a year.
âWhen COVID happened and donations stopped because people weren’t working or worried about the future, luckily I had this cushion. So now this cushion is getting really thin, we took decision.”
By creating the non-profit organization and continuing to support families, Pollock is relying on his faith to support him.
âIf we were here next March, we would have been here for six years,â she said. “I mean God just backed us up. Just when I start to worry, a gift comes in, whether it’s from a church or from a private donation.”
Pollock started the association after witnessing the hardships of employees when she was a manager at Sykes.
âI have heard a lot of sad stories and issues,â she said. “‘I can’t take my child to daycare because I don’t have diapersâ¦ so I have to stay home, or I have to make one of my kids stay home, then I am having trouble with school. ‘
“That’s why, no matter what, we’ll make sure we have diapers for our community.”
Same mission, different format
Earthbound Angels will continue its mission of supporting 6,000 families per year.
After November 27, Pollock will take requests from families through the organization’s Facebook page or website and will need to “have a place where we can meet them.”
In addition to 20 diapers twice a month, families can receive children’s clothing for all ages, pull-ups, bottles, diapers, crib sheets, baby toys, baby shampoo and baby care. ‘other articles.
The reason for repackaging the diapers in quantities of 20 is “so that they have a sufficient supply for their child and their child only,” Pollock said. “They can’t trade diapers for cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, take them back to the store.”
Earthbound Angels serves all families, with no location or income requirements.
âIt’s something we’ve stuck with all the time because we want to be an environment without bureaucracy, because if you sign up for social service it could take weeks,â Pollock said.
The move to a virtual format will also allow Pollock to spend more time working on grants and also volunteering with other organizations.
âWe have seen a lot of places where people are shy,â she said. “… Obviously we want to continue working with babies and children where we can. I’m perfectly qualified to be a CASA worker, so I’ll probably find out about that.”
During the transition period, the nonprofit âwill shift from giving everything you can think of when you arrive in a new home to focusing on baby business,â Pollock said.
Essential donations will be transferred to a storage building in Pollock’s yard and other items will be distributed.
âA lot of things that we can’t take will be in front, so our customers or passers-by will be able to go through them and pick them up on Saturday,â she said. “… We’re closed on the 6th, but we’ll be open until November. We’re constantly releasing things because we’re only going to pack the essentials.”
“At the end of the day, we’d like some land that we could put a fence around, and then I could put that building and maybe another, and then we’d have minimal utilities.”
How to get help
For families who need help, Earthbound Angels can be contacted on their Facebook page or website, earthboundangelsinc.vpweb.com.
Catherine Nolte is a member of the body of Report for America, a national service program that places reporters in local newsrooms. She can be contacted at [email protected] Southwest Times Record and Report for America are working to place a new generation of journalists in community news organizations across the country. Are you supporting this effort today?