This year has been full of new challenges for many, particularly the vulnerable and under-resourced families we support. However, it has also been a year of hope as we have seen a community of support rising up to meet this great need.
Despite the obstacles COVID-19 had initially created for our operations, we are proud to still offer families the opportunity to have some choice in their items and foster an environment that makes them feel validated and heard. Families have shared that they are so thankful that we have been able to operate when so many other community services have remained closed.
2020 will be remembered by all, for so many different reasons, but here are the top 5 things we at BabyGoRound will remember it for:
Continuing to offer our program and operate during COVID-19 for families
Our response to COVID-19 was swift, thoughtful, and collaborative. Staff at BabyGoRound demonstrated incredible flexibility and perseverance in their commitment to delivering services to the families we support. Based on the government directives at the time regarding social distancing, we closed for three weeks at the end of March. We used that time to research how we could receive donated baby gear, and clean and disinfect it, so that we could safely distribute it to families. We were able to source a disinfecting spray that is food safe, safe for babies, and is rated by Health Canada as being effective in killing COVID-19.
Successfully raising $10,000 in 10 days through our virtual fundraiser
Our $10k in 10 days virtual fundraising campaign this past Spring was very successful and helped to supplement the items we receive through donation with purchased new items. Our community responded so positively to our campaign, that we were able to exceed our goal of $10,000 in 10 days, and we are so grateful for their continued support of our work. In addition to the financial success and flexibility this campaign provided, it also demonstrated to us just how committed our community is to ensuring every family has the essential items needed to safely care for their infants and toddlers.
Developing new partnerships with businesses, organizations, & foundations
We are so grateful for the emails and phone calls of businesses, organizations, and foundations saying, “how can we help?” and coming around us to help enhance the service and programs we are able to provide. Thanks to these partnerships this year, we were able to provide everything from car seats, hand sanitizer, shoes, breast pumps, bottles, soothers, grocery store gift cards, strollers, cribs, clothing as well as improve our space to better deliver our program. This increased exposure, funding, and in-kind donation changes the landscape and scale of how we can support families. We are beyond grateful for the foundation it has created during 2020 that we are excited to build on in 2021!
Enormous success of our Winter Drive collecting 702 items
We have been hosting an annual drive during the holiday season since our earliest years, yet for the first time, we were unsure how the drive would look given safety precautions due to COVID-19. Thanks to the support of our community of schools, businesses, organizations, financial donors, and online shoppers, we exceeded our goal of collecting 500 winter outerwear items and instead collected 702. In addition to these items, we connected with many new supporters and received other gear donations that provide a secure and exciting start to 2021.
The unwavering support of many individuals and volunteers coming together (figuratively!) to donate and find new ways to safely give their time
One very difficult aspect of our closure and change to service operations has been not seeing as much of our amazing volunteers. Slowly but surely, we are thrilled to be seeing more and more of our volunteers in ways that allow for safe physical distancing and allow us to successfully deliver our program. The previous experience of our volunteers working directly with families has proved invaluable as they now turn the information collected from family phone calls into personalized bundles for each family we serve. During the most challenging months, many volunteers even took boxes of clothing home to sort to support our very lean staff. Many Community Champions and individuals have reached out to their parent-community and collected items on their doorstep so we can quickly pick these items up. We have also continued to receive many personalized packages from donors who have spent months knitting or quilting beautiful items for families.
We are so proud of all of these successes because each one allows us to care for one more baby and empower one more parent. These choices and actions of generosity by so many are what have cumulatively allowed us to deliver services to vulnerable families throughout the pandemic. The impact of this generosity is significant and allows us to provide approximately $1,000 – 1,200 worth (fair market value) of baby items to each family that we serve.
Feedback from families tells us two things: first, that providing all of the equipment the family needs to safely care for their children makes them feel confident that they are ready and can provide for their children and secondly, also improves their financial viability as all of the resources that would have been spent on these items was not diverted from food, rent and other daily living expenses.
Thank you so much for generously supporting BabyGoRound this past year! It has been a uniquely challenging time for so many, especially for families that are already under-resourced and vulnerable. Knowing this very deeply in light of the work we do, we are more grateful than ever for our community’s support.
The staff and Board of Directors thank you for your continued support!
With warm wishes for a happy and healthy holiday season,
— Team BGR