The Baby Buggy, Inc.

Baby Buggy provides essential items for infants and children to New York City families living in poverty. We accomplish this by collecting new and gently used items from corporations and families and delivering them to the communities with the highest rates of family poverty. Working with a network of social service sites throughout the five boroughs of New York, bringing cribs, strollers, clothing and diapers to families in need, we have delivered over 2,600,000 items to date.
Dec 20, 2013

Christmas Comes to the Rockaways!

Twice the Christmas Fun!
Twice the Christmas Fun!

With your help, Baby Buggy has been able to bring some holiday cheer to families in the Rockaways who are still struggling to return to normalcy after SuperStorm Sandy.  On Wednesday, we headed out to a wonderful holiday celebration for families who are anxiously awaiting the grand re-opening of a family support center where they are participants in Early Head Start and Fatherhood programs.  The staff have been doing regular home visits and holding group "socialization" activities for the past year since their center was completely flooded and destroyed last October.  The new center recently opened for staff and they are now holding occasional play groups and fatherhood workshops onsite until the classrooms are fully ready to be back up and running early next year.  Many families and staff members are still not back in their severly damaged homes and apartments, so the nearly completed family support center has been a wonderful calm amid the ongoing storm. 

The turnout at the holiday party was incredible and the day started with puzzles, legos, books, and other engaging play activities for the families.  There was a fun holiday craft corner where moms, dads, and grandparents could help their children create adorable little snowmen and holiday scenes with stickers and markers.  The staff decorated a wall of one of the classrooms with twinkling lights, wrapping paper, and a Christmas tree and took family portraits for everyone who attended.  We then moved to another large classroom for a wonderful lunch and hot cocoa, funded by Baby Buggy's Sandy Family Assistance Fund.  After lunch, the staff invited parents to come and pick-up large bags of holiday toys provided by Baby Buggy that were developmentally-appropriate for their specific children.  Rather than having the children rip open the presents that day, we wanted the parents to be able to take these presents home so that "Santa" would be able to deliver presents on Christmas morning.  The moms and dads were so grateful that they would be able to provide a holiday filled with fun and toys despite the ongoing economic challenges they are facing.

Baby Buggy is also supporting holiday gatherings for both children and staff at another long-time community partner in the Rockaways, Community & Family Head Start.  We know that our wonderful partner, Angelina Alvarez-Davis, will be leading the carols and donning a fabulous Santa hat!  Angelina is one of those inspiring, selfless, creative, passionate community leaders that Baby Buggy is especially lucky to be working with.  We are delighted to share that Oprah Winfrey's O Magazine team agrees with us and featured Angelina in this month's holiday issue as someone who is beautiful on the inside and out! 

Angelina grew up in the Rockaways and was devastated to see her mother's home damaged by the storm and by the unbelievable challenges faced by the families in her Head Start program and by her staff.  She has been a true hero during the rebuilding process and leads by example.  Angelina has faced even tougher battles in her life already, as she is a survivor of brain cancer and has even created her own nonprofit for families facing brain cancer as a side project!  Angelina's e-mail address includes the word "mariposa," which is Spanish for butterfly.  When I asked her about this during the thick of the Sandy recovery process, she told me that the butterfly has truly become her guiding metaphor in life and at work.  She has helped her Head Start program transform into a beautiful butterfly that helps low-income children learn to fly as well.  And, as you can see in her impressive O Magazine photo spread, (she received a day of pampering and a full makeover as a small thank you for being such a selfless community leader), you will agree that she is indeed a beautiful butterfly!

Thank you for your generosity and for helping bring a little holiday cheer to the wonderful families, children, and staff members of the community partners we serve in the Rockaways!

Crafts with Dad
Crafts with Dad
Time to Eat and Celebrate
Time to Eat and Celebrate
Giving Toys to Parents for Christmas Morning
Giving Toys to Parents for Christmas Morning
Baby Buggy Partner Profiled in the December Issue!
Baby Buggy Partner Profiled in the December Issue!
Angelina in Action!
Angelina in Action!
Congratulations to our incredible Angelina!
Congratulations to our incredible Angelina!

Links:

Dec 3, 2013

Baby Buggy's Father of the Month: Rick Justiniano

Rick and his daughters
Rick and his daughters

In 2010, Baby Buggy launched its Fatherhood Initiative to support fathers who are struggling to play a greater role in the lives of their children. Since that time, we have donated over 160,000 items to fatherhood participants in NYC and LA. Each month, we are going to feature some of the dads who have played a part in making this program happen. This month, it’s Baby Buggy’s own Office Manager, Rick Justiniano. Here is his interview with Baby Buggy’s Executive Director Katherine Snider:

KS: When you joined Baby Buggy in 2009, there was only one other man on staff.  And you were our first dad.  You were a pioneer!  What was it about Baby Buggy that appealed to you?

RICK: Helping families- I loved the idea.  I loved the idea that it wasn’t just a 9 to 5 job.  It was somewhere where you were happy to get up in the morning and come to work. 

My parents came here from Puerto Rico in the 1960s.  I grew up in a neighborhood with a lot of poverty.  I saw the importance of giving back.  It was always a struggle for my dad, but he worked hard.  He was very
responsible, he always put us first.  My mom was a school teacher at PS 173.  She was very dedicated, and she told us stories about kids living in really bad situations.  My family volunteered a lot at a soup kitchen during the holidays, and we did food drives. 

KS: You have two amazing, beautiful daughters. How old are they now?

RICK; Zoe is 12 and Mya is 14.  Since I started work at Baby Buggy, the girls have become more conscious
about giving back. They are more appreciative of what they have. 

KS: What is your favorite thing to do with your girls?

RICK: Going to the park on Sundays with my girls- when it’s warm.  I love having picnics with them.  Sundays in the winter start with a big breakfast.  We all sit around reading.  I read the Times, they do their homework.  And then we all make a big dinner. 

KS: Since you joined us, we launched our Fatherhood Initiative.  What do you think it most interesting or
important about this initiative?

RICK: Dads are so important to their kids.  More important than many think they are.  That status quo is that moms are more important.  And the system supports that.  I know from my own experience that dads often have to fight to be there for their children. 

And I love the way we donate.  We don’t just give out stuff.  We ask fathers to make a commitment to the
program and to their kids, and reward them for it.  Our donations make it easier for them to be parents. 



 



 



 



Oct 28, 2013

Stronger than the Storm

Stronger than the Storm
Stronger than the Storm

One year ago, Super Storm Sandy swept through New York, devastating the homes, apartments, offices, stores, and day centers of thousands of families who were already struggling to survive.  The message we keep hearing over and over again from the families Baby Buggy serve in the Rockaways, Staten Island, Brooklyn, Lower Manhattan, and New Jersey who bore the brunt of this disaster is: "We are stronger than the storm."  The families from the Head Start programs, Fatherhood programs, and Nurse-Family Partnership programs we serve are deeply grateful for the help they have received and are working hard to continue rebuilding their lives. 

Over the past year, with your support, Baby Buggy has distributed 160,251 essential items to struggling low-income families affected by the storm.  Baby Buggy has provided thousands of diapers and wipes, food, cribs, furniture, strollers, car seats, toys, clothing, books, back-to-school supplies and backpacks, gift cards for groceries and other needed household items, and air purifiers for families living in moldy, water-logged housing situations.

We recently received this letter from a mother from Far Rockaway whose child is a participant in an Early Head Start program Baby Buggy supports.  We think it perfectly sums up how much we have accomplished this past year and how much more we need to do, together, to make this a lasting recovery:

"Dear Baby Buggy,

I am writing you this letter to inform you on how much you have helped my family and I. Since Super Storm Sandy I lost a lot of things due to the water and rusted pipes that busted. All of my bedrooms have mold where I had to throw away most of the clothes and the dressers as well as the beds. Giving my family and I these things such as clothes, food, lamp, diapers, wipes, and a dresser meant more then the world to me. Trying to get these things back and pay rent as well as supply things that my family needed was very overwhelming. When the baby buggy team supplied me with the thing that was truly needed it made me feel like someone still cares about us...being that I'm still going through hardship and still living in an apartment with mold and dealing with housing court. 

Seeing the face my daughter has when being able to go to the market with the Stop and Shop card meant so much to me instead of us standing on line for hours for free food. Also noticing how happy she was when she saw the clothes, dresser, lamp, and toys was priceless. Her birthday is on October 31 so last year she was unable to have one being that we had no lights, heat, nor hot water...due to Sandy she spent her birthday in the dark as well as being cold. This year she won't be able to have the birthday I would like to give her since I’m still going through hardship, but she WILL have a bed as well as a dresser, clothes, and toys that was given to her by baby buggy. I don’t know how I can show how much we really appreciate your help except with this letter...thank you so much.  Just knowing that there are people out there who still care means everything to me as I’m crying writing this letter thanking everyone again for all their help...it’s truly appreciated."            

Still "Rebuilding"
Still "Rebuilding"
Stroller Covered in Mold Two Days after Sandy
Stroller Covered in Mold Two Days after Sandy
New Floor, New Room, New Baby Buggy Gear!
New Floor, New Room, New Baby Buggy Gear!
Thank You Baby Buggy!
Thank You Baby Buggy!

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