NEW ORLEANS – On Thursday, the Mayor’s Office of Youth and Families announced the success of its recently developed “Mom and Baby” initiative.
This program started after a significant outcry from the community for infant and feminine hygiene products to support newly unemployed, homeless, and otherwise vulnerable women and children.
“This program satisfies a great need in the New Orleans community for some of our most vulnerable people. The funding will go a long way to support many families and individuals and take one more thing off their plate,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “With the help of several community partners we have been able to distribute tons of much-needed diapers, baby food and feminine hygiene products to our families. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen economic unemployment rise and a need for basic supplies increase. This is one small thing we can contribute to making sure our families’ needs are met.”
UnitedHealthcare recently awarded the Office of Youth and Families a $25,000 grant to purchase the products for the program.
Saints player Cam Jordan’s Dreambuilder Foundation also generously donated an additional $5,000 to the initiative.
In order to serve as many women and children as possible, OYF has engaged a diverse group of organizations including the following groups:
- Urban Strategies
- Familias Unidas en Acción
- Training Grounds
- New Orleans Family Justice Center
- Nurse Nikki & Bloom Maternal Health
- Saul’s Light
- Crescent City Family Services
- Nola Baby Cafe/HER Institute
- NOHD’s WIC Program
- Reproductive Justice Action Collective
- ECCO Community Center
- Congreso de Jornaleros
- Birthmark Doula Collective
- EduCare Center
Collectively, these organizations serve thousands of families a week throughout the Greater New Orleans area. They work with populations such as: pregnant, homeless and transient youth, people who have experienced sexual and physical violence, new parents, Neonatal Intensive Care (NICU) families, low income and food insecure families, the formerly incarcerated and their families, the LGBTQIA+ community, and Hispanic, Vietnamese and black families.
“The Mom & Baby initiative is an example of OYF’s ongoing commitment to the whole family. We seek to elevate community needs so they are met with resources and opportunities that ultimately promote improved child and family well-being,” said Camille Alexander, Deputy Director, Office of Youth and Families.
Over the course of a month, OYF hosted four distribution events to provide partner organizations with over 200,000 diapers and training pants, over 40,000 feminine hygiene products and over 15,000 baby food products.
“This initiative has helped these organizations to provide much needed commodities and necessities for families and new mothers who are in need of extra assistance, especially during this time. This initiative has helped [our clients] as many are self-employed,” said Lang Le, VIET. “Many of these women have newborn babies that they do not feel safe bringing to stores to get supplies, so this is one less stressor that they have to deal with.”
“It has allowed them to tap into a surplus of supplies that we couldn’t tap into otherwise or couldn’t afford. For babies in the NICU, who Saul’s Light Foundation works with, it has been extremely helpful for our NICU families who are taking babies home in the middle of a pandemic,” said Pearl Ricks, Reproductive Justice Action Collective.
“The NICU is already stressful, and the babies are often discharged with medical complexities, such as oxygen. Being able to provide diapers is one less stressful thing to think about. The NICU can be financially draining and diapers are expensive,” said Kimberly Novod, Saul’s Light Foundation.