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URMC / Strong Memorial Hospital / Friends of Strong / The Best of Friends Blog / November 2022 / Seeking Secret Santas for Strong's Baby Love Program

Seeking Secret Santas for Strong's Baby Love Program

A young child looks down with delight at gift retrieved from under a Christmas tree as they prepare to unwrap the gift.Departments, teams and individuals throughout the University of Rochester and Strong Memorial Hospital generously step up each year to help make a difference for young families enrolled in the Baby Love program coordinated through our Social Work and Patient and Family Services Division. We invite you to join us in contributing to this meaningful cause this holiday season.

"Although situations vary from family to family, many face difficult circumstances exacerbated by the pandemic each and every day," says Carol Quester, senior social worker in URMC's Social Work Division. “This is especially true for more than 250 families who are currently enrolled in our social work programs here at Strong."

Together, these families represent 288 babies, infants, toddlers and children from throughout our area. Carol explains that the majority of mothers in Baby Love are head of household, and employed in various essential service industries. They work hard to balance demanding work hours while providing care for their young and school-age children, but gaps in resources still persist.

A Great Way to Gift

In years past, each of the Baby Love families were profiled with detailed suggestions for those who adopted them. However, our social workers, who have screened and selected these families in need of real basics, such as warm clothing and shoes, are still only able to provide limited in-home visits to drop off essential goods and informational resources.

Because of these changes, we are hoping groups and individuals will embrace a newer 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 household essentials, such as diapers, cleaning supplies, and groceries for wholesome family meals during the holidays," says 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. 9 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.


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 | 11/15/2022

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