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 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!

Links:

Oct 3, 2013

The Kings of Queens!

A True Role Model
A True Role Model

On a beautiful fall Saturday as jets from nearby LaGuardia airport flew overhead in Queens, Baby Buggy celebrated with 71 fathers from all walks of life.  These fathers, along with their families, were participating in a "Stepping Up" ceremony to recognize their accomplishments and growth through the Forestdale Fathering Initiative.  They have truly become "Kings of Queens!"   These fathers have committed to "being forever present and actively involved in the lives they have created."  They have participated in numerous trainings on topics including parenting, anger management, healthy relationships, nutrition, and job skills development.  These dads spent many hours learning, sharing, and growing, despite the challenges of their other work and family responsibilities.

One father, Cleeford, spoke at the podium to the large audience (over 100!) of fellow dads, family members, and program staff who were there for the ceremony.  Cleeford shared that after participating in this fathering program, he believes he is “an entirely new person.”  He feels that he now has a deeper and clearer understanding of how to be a better father and how to be a better co-parent with the mother of his son.  “Even when I had to leave work early to get here for classes, I always knew it was worth it…for my son and for me.”  All of the fathers who shared their stories thanked the Fathering staff many times over and it is clear that strong bonds have been forged between the men participating in this innovative program.  They announced that a new alumni group is forming specifically for the dads whose first language is Spanish so they can continue to support each other after graduation in a comfortable, culturally-sensitive way.  Other alumni groups continue to meet on an ongoing basis to build on the lessons they have already learned and also to serve as mentors to fathers new to the program.

A highlight of this “Stepping Up” ceremony was when Thabiti Boone of the Allan Houston Foundation shared his own incredible personal story and inspired everyone there.  Thabiti did not grow up with an actively-engaged father and was born to a struggling, teen mother.  He threw himself into the rigors and joy of basketball as a way to cope with the many challenges he and his family faced.  He was overwhelmed when he discovered that, at 19, he was going to be a father.  When the mother of his child let him know that she was in no way prepared to be a teen mother, Thabiti stepped up and took his baby with him to college where he played competitive basketball.  As a teen, male, single parent, Thabiti said “what I would have given for a Baby Buggy back then....I had to find a way to pay for a crib, a stroller, formula, and diapers, all while trying to study and play ball!”  Thabiti’s baby girl is now 30 years old and he has dedicated his life to raising awareness about the challenges of father absence while developing important projects that promote responsible fatherhood.

Baby Buggy is honored to have been a part of this inspirational day and with the help of our generous donors, we will continue to help fathers, both graduates and new participants in fathering initiatives, provide the warm, loving, safe environments their children need to grow and thrive.



A Dad Sharing How He Has Grown
A Dad Sharing How He Has Grown
Mission Accomplished!
Mission Accomplished!
Proud Families Capturing the Moment
Proud Families Capturing the Moment
Congratulations Dads!
Congratulations Dads!
Thabiti Boone of the Allan Houson Foundation
Thabiti Boone of the Allan Houson Foundation

Links:

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