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.
Sep 11, 2013

Back to School After Sandy!

Time to Play Bingo to Learn Shapes & Colors
Time to Play Bingo to Learn Shapes & Colors

In the Rockaways, Brighton Beach, and other neighborhoods in Brooklyn flooded by Superstorm Sandy, hundreds of children returned to their Head Start programs and schools fully equipped to learn thanks to your generous support!  Baby Buggy was able to provide over 600 backpacks and 600 early education school supply kits to the children we serve in these Sandy-affected areas. 

On a recent visit to one of our Head Start programs in Far Rockaway, we saw cubbies newly filled with clothing, backpacks, and school supplies, along with shelves teeming with books and educational toys.  As children and parents arrived, they expressed relief to be gradually returning to the normalcy of the back-to-school rush.  Because of the extensive flooding caused by Sandy to many classrooms, houses, and apartments, most of their backpacks and school supplies were completely ruined.  These expensive supplies are hard for the low-income parents we serve to come by during the best of times.  With the ongoing economic challenges of the rebuilding process, parents were finding it especially difficult to equip their children with the tools they need to succeed in school.  We were thrilled to step in and provide beautiful new backpacks and lunchboxes, along with crayons, paper, notebooks, glue sticks, pencils, markers, and all the other supplies children in early education and elementary school need to learn and thrive. 

And most importantly, we know that these beautiful backpacks and supplies helped the children feel some of the excitement that the start of a new school year can bring--every child deserves the thrill of flipping through a set of brightly colored new folders or running their fingers along the tops of a new set of rainbow markers!  These much-needed school supplies are a vivid reminder to these children and their parents that we have not forgotten about the struggles they have faced and continue to face in rebuilding their homes and lives after Sandy.  Thanks for making this week's back-to-school transition so positive for so many of New York's most vulnerable children!

Cubbies are Full Again!
Cubbies are Full Again!
Distributing School Supplies to Sandy Survivors
Distributing School Supplies to Sandy Survivors
Cool Backpacks for School
Cool Backpacks for School
Line Leaders Ready for Head Start!
Line Leaders Ready for Head Start!

Links:

Jun 12, 2013

From Relief to Rebuilding and Renewal

Head Start Back in Action Post-Sandy!
Head Start Back in Action Post-Sandy!

While Superstorm Sandy has faded from memory for many New Yorkers, we know firsthand at Baby Buggy that the aftermath of this devastating storm continues to challenge the many low-income families we serve on Coney Island, the Rockaways, Lower Manhattan, and in New Jersey.  Our efforts have shifted from providing emergency relief to finding creative ways to help the programs and families we serve rebuild their facilities and their lives.  A few weeks ago, a bunch of Baby Buggy staffers piled into a car and headed out to check in with some of the Head Start and Early Head Start programs we serve in Brighton Beach, Coney Island, and Far Rockaway.  Even though we are in constant communication with the program leaders and teachers at these sites through phone and e-mail, we thought it was time for another in-person visit to see how the rebuilding process was going.

We were delighted to see what great progress they are making in repairing and rebuilding their early education classrooms, but we also heard many harrowing stories of families who continue to struggle with housing and employment as a result of the storm.  Many of the families whose children attend one of our Head Start programs in Brighton Beach live in small basement apartments with multiple families.  Not surprisingly, many of these apartments were completely flooded during Sandy and while many have been repaired, the warm summer weather is bringing mold and poor air quality to these tiny, crowded apartments.  As a result, we are planning to provide high-quality air purifiers to these families to try to prevent little lungs from breathing in the mold and dust that Sandy has left in its wake.  Many families continue to struggle with meeting basic needs and we are also providing help with groceries to ensure that food is not a major concern as they rebuild their lives.  Many families lost all of their possessions in the flooding and we are also helping provide summer play clothing for the children in these communities.

The rebuilding process has been incredibly challenging for the staff members working at these sites who have had to deal with the aftermath of Sandy both at work and at home.  They are an incredibly creative and resilient bunch who go above and beyond to help the children in their programs recover and rebuild while supporting their parents as well.  When water flooded two ground-floor classrooms in Far Rockaway, all the toys, furniture, books, and supplies were completely ruined, including some clothing from Baby Buggy that had just been sorted and prepared for distribution.  Angelina, a program leader there, shared with us that staff members collected all the clothing that had been floating around the room, washed them all, folded them, re-sorted them, and distributed them to families in need. Needles to say, this is an amazing community of dedicated early education leaders!  If all goes as planned (and nothing seems to be perfectly predictable during this rebuilding process), these two basement classrooms will re-open this month.  To help make the transition a bit easier, Baby Buggy will be providing new art supplies and educational toys, including easels, construction paper, paint, crayons, safety scissors, markers, glitter glue, puzzles, stamps, and books to help fill these completely renovated Head Start classrooms.  We were able to provide needed art supplies for another Head Start in Lower Manhattan located on the site of a large public housing community that was also flooded during Sandy.  As you can see from these photos, the children there are now happily gluing, cutting, coloring, and painting beautiful works of art.  Watching these children work on a large alphabet puzzle Baby Buggy provided is a great reminder of how resilient children can be and with your help, we will continue to help these families put the pieces of their lives back together. 

Rebuilding in Progress at a Rockaways Head Start
Rebuilding in Progress at a Rockaways Head Start
The water came all the way up to here!
The water came all the way up to here!
Almost ready for toys, books, and children...
Almost ready for toys, books, and children...
Putting the Pieces Back Together...
Putting the Pieces Back Together...
Jun 12, 2013

So Much to Celebrate This Father's Day!

Reggie from our Fatherhood Program in Queens
Reggie from our Fatherhood Program in Queens

June is the perfect month to celebrate fathers from all walks of life and we have been doing just that here at Baby Buggy! Dads from our fatherhood programs in the Bronx and Queens have been working hard over the past year to build on their strengths to become hands-on fathers who are actively involved in the lives of their children. Many will officially graduate this month and we look forward to celebrating with them. One dad, Shane, recently completed the Fathers First program in Far Rockaway and has weathered many personal storms (including Superstorm Sandy!) to become a positive role model for his young daughter. Congratulations Shane!

We also celebrated fatherhood at our annual Baby Buggy Bedtime Bash where 100 participants in our fatherhood programs attended with their children. This fun family carnival held at an amusement park in Central Park is a wonderful Baby Buggy tradition and we were thrilled to have so many of our participant families join us for a beautiful early summer evening filled with games, rides, food, and fun.

Reggie from one of our Queens fatherhood programs attended with his four children and wife Lisa. They all wore paper plate hats made by the famous paper artist "Mr. Cheng" and enjoyed playing with their balloon animals and eating delicious ice cream. And, of course, it was a thrill to meet Elmo and Olivia the Pig too! Reggie said that attending an event like this is a good reminder about how important it is for dads to stay in their children's lives, "Children really need their daddy and if you are not there, you will miss out on all those silly moments...those smiles are priceless."

Rodney from our Bronx fatherhood program also attended the carnival with his 2-year-old triplets and 1-year-old son Rodney, Jr.!  Baby Buggy was able to provide Rodney with a much-needed "quad stroller," so he is able to transport his adorable young family around his neighborhood. Needless to say, Rodney has his hands full and with help from supporters like you, we are able to meet the unique needs of low-income dads and their children.

Another young dad from our Bronx fatherhood program, Ronnell, shared with us how Baby Buggy has helped him be an even better father to his 2-year-old daughter Elisha: “I am Mr. Fix-It, the Boo-Boo Patrol, and the Early Bird, who is up first thing in the morning getting my daughter ready for preschool. I’ve had my share of ups and downs and this program has helped me with anger issues and with relationship issues…it helps me be a better father after every get-together.” Parenting is a fun and challenging balancing act for all moms and dads, but with the support of Baby Buggy and the Bronx Fatherhood program, Ronnell is able to build on his strengths and talents. Ronnell has received clothing, diapers, a crib, and a stroller for Elisha from Baby Buggy to help make parenting just a little bit easier as he works to build a happy and healthy life for his family in one of the poorest communities in the U.S. “I am grateful because this really helps relieve the financial burden for me…I appreciate any extra help I can get.”

Baby Buggy has distributed nearly 190,000 items to low-income fathers like Ronnell, Rodney, Reggie, and Shane and we can't think of a better way to celebrate Father's Day than to support all fathers as they work to become happy and healthy role models for their children. Thank you for your support and Happy Father's Day to all!

Quad Stroller for a Bronx Dad!
Quad Stroller for a Bronx Dad!
Jerry Hanging Out with Folks from Fathers First
Jerry Hanging Out with Folks from Fathers First
Shane
Shane's Graduation!

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