Fair Haven Showers The Babies

Allan AppelYoung dad Chris Pena drives a truck; having just qualified for a commercial driver’s license, he’ll be able to move up and continue to pay the rent two-bedroom apartment, where his wife stays home to care for the couple’s kids, 2 1/2-year old Lia and baby Zoe, born just three weeks ago.

Still the baby supplies do run out on Fridays, and Pena’s wife often has to wait until he comes home with his paycheck before she can go out and buy another batch of diapers.

That’s why he was happy to attend Fair Haven’s first-ever community baby shower, which helped Pena’s family and nine others with needed supplies.

The gathering took place Monday morning at the Fair Haven Community Health Center’s (FHCHC) newest facility at 50 Grand Ave., which opened in October 2015 and is home to a nurse-midwife program that helps deliver about 150 babies a year.

All the families are participants in the center’s state-funded Nurturing Families program. One Monday they each received a huge basket full of diapers, wipes, age-appropriate books, bibs, pacifiers, thermometers, and other baby care basics that make the joyous but incredibly stressful first months and years of a new baby’s life and that of her family more secure.

The items were purchased by the event’s organizers, The United Way of Greater New Haven, with about $4,600 donated by local corporate sponsors.

As daughter Lia happily hopped around during the ceremonies, Pena said he is committed to making his kids’ childhoods easier than his own in the South Bronx.

He said especially Monday’s shower gifts “take the edge off” financially.

The gift baskets were part of a kind of graduation celebration for FHCHC’s ten families enrolled in the Nurturing Families program, which features a ten- week course in both pre-natal and post-natal care, said Beth Pellegrino’s, United Way’s Director of Community Impact.

Resources permitting, the groups would like to make the community shower an annual event.

In addition to mountains of diapers, wipes, toys, books, bibs, and thermometers, United Way’s offices are also storing strollers, pack-and-play’s, car seats, and other larger size items available on an as-needed, family-by-family basis, said Nurturing Families Coordinator Evelyn Flamm.

The Fair Haven Community Health Center’s women’s care and midwife program has only about a 9 percent—compared to 34 percent nationally—rate for caesarean sections, said that program’s longtime director, Ellen Wormser.

Ready access to baby and parent necessities allows families to focus on bonding, nurturing, and developmental milestones, key components of healthy child development, according to the organizations’ press release announcing the community shower.

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posted by: Seth Poole on August 22, 2017  3:09pm

Now, this rings with promise!  It is rare that we hear about great community events for our most vulnerable citizens; our babies.  Props to the organizers at the Fair Haven Community Health Center and the United Way.


posted by: Realmom21 on August 23, 2017  11:16am

i know this comment will be met unfavorabllye but it is an opinion…With the exception that a non profit supported the project the whole notion of continuing to support people who CHOOSE to have children they cant afford is kin to giving an addict money. Reality housing supplements, utility supplements, food supplements , diapers supplements..oh she is a stay at home mom..how privileged? wouldn’t many other mothers love to be able to stay home with their young families? Absolutely, but responsible ones don’t. The dont have more children that will keep them struggling to provide the necessities. They go to work until their spouse is in the position to support them with out the donations and contributions of the working neighbors to support their life choices.
I am not an un caring person I just happened to have donated to a diaper bank within the past two weeks and my children are way past that age and stage but it is still sad beyond when you feature a family that needs help with the most basic of needs because they chose to be irresponsible.

posted by: Kathy on August 26, 2017  5:38am

@realmom21 I couldn’t agree with you more. I am not sure why people keep having kids if they can’t afford basic things like diapers? I would never want my child sitting home “waiting” for someone to come home to cash their check so I could change or put a new diaper on them. Maybe the mother needs to get a job? Not many mothers have the luxury of staying home with their children.