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URMC / Strong Memorial Hospital / Friends of Strong / The Best of Friends Blog / November 2020 / Brighten the Holidays for Families Enrolled in Strong's Baby Love Program

Brighten the Holidays for Families Enrolled in Strong's Baby Love Program

A toddler dressed in a colorful elf outfit sits accepting with both hands a small gift box wrapped in gold ribbon.One holiday tradition will be a little different this year at Strong Memorial Hospital. Departments and teams throughout Strong generously step up each year to make a difference for new families who are enrolled in the Baby Love and Building Healthy Children programs through our Social Work and Patient and Family Services Division. This year the need is greater than ever, so we're inviting individuals to contribute to this truly meaningful cause.

"Although situations vary from family to family, many more are facing difficult circumstances this year," says Carol Quester, senior social worker in URMC's Social Work Division. "The pandemic is creating additional challenges for so many families, and this is especially true of the more than 168 families now enrolled in these social work community outreach programs."

Together, these families represent 392 babies, infants, toddlers and children from throughout our area. The majority of mothers in Baby Love are head of household, and employed in various essential service industries. They are working hard to balance reduced work hours while providing care for their young and school-age children during the pandemic.

A Newer Way to Help

In years past, each family was profiled with detailed suggestions for the teams who adopted them. However, this year our social workers—who have screened and selected these families in need of real basics, such as warm clothing and shoes—are only able to provide limited home visiting to drop off essential goods and informational resources.

Because of these new changes, we are hoping groups and individuals will embrace a new way to help these families—by contributing gift cards from easily accessible retailers, such as Walmart, Wegmans, Target, Price Rite, Tops, Amazon or local dollar stores.

"With your gifts this holiday season, these hardworking, yet under-resourced parents, will be able to shop for toys, activities, books and other meaningful gifts on their own, while still affording the household essentials, such as diapers, cleaning supplies, and groceries for wholesome family meals during the holidays," adds Sandy Arbasak, director of Friends of Strong, the hospital's volunteer organization which has helped coordinate the annual gift-giving drive since it began more than 25 years ago.

All gift card donations will need to be received by Friday, Dec. 10 in order to give our case workers time to gather, arrange and equitably distribute these gifts.

For URMC Staff: Please deliver—unwrapped—to the Friends of Strong Office (Room 1-1230) Monday–Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For the Public: Please mail your contribution to Friends of Strong, c/o Susan Sullivan, 601 Elmwood Avenue, Box 660, Rochester, NY, 14642.

Sign Up Today!

If you would like to help support these families this holiday season or have any questions about how you can help, please call 585-275-2420 or email Susan Sullivan so that we can plan accordingly and keep you informed of any updates as the holidays draw near.

More about Baby Love

The Baby Love program operates under the Social Work Department of Strong Memorial Hospital, and serves low income pregnant women and their families to promote positive birth outcomes. Services are provided primarily by a Community Health Worker and address barriers in accessing health care, benefits, securing essential goods, linkage to community resources, supportive counseling, and education through the Partners for a Healthy Baby Curriculum, to promote healthy behaviors and positive mother infant attachment.



Matt Ulakovic | 11/12/2020

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