SUMMIT, NJ - Despite the COVID-19 outbreak, Summit-based Area Baby Center (ABC) is continuing to help young families in need with monthly distribution of diapers and wipes. As of last month, the ABC has altered its distribution method to observe social distancing and other safety requirements.
“We want to let the community know that we’re still here, and we want to help families who need it -- even if they haven’t been a client in the past,” said Denise D’Alberti, ABC President
For more than two decades, the ABC has provided families in the Summit area with baby supplies for the first two-and-a-half years of a child’s life. Distributions take place at Twin Maples, and clients come from Summit and nearby towns including Springfield, Chatham, New Providence, Berkeley Heights and Gillette to pick up their free diapers and wipes. Typically, the organization serves around 40 families in any given month, “though we have taken on as many as 60 clients at times in the past,” D’Alberti noted.
While various local charities have seen an increase in families requesting help in meeting basic needs such as food. However, most food programs do not provide diapers. “ABC exists to close that gap,” said D’Alberti. “We are encouraging families to contact us if they’d like to enroll in the program or if they want to refer a friend or neighbor. We want to make sure we have adequate supplies for our next distribution on Tuesday, May 5.”
Families who are interested in ABC support can call 908-522-1600, or private message through the Area Baby Center Facebook page, or email email@example.com. To receive diapers on May 5, ABC requests that families call or email no later than May 1. The volunteer board includes Spanish-speaking members who can assist families who request it.
Before the Coronavirus pandemic, distributions were held in a lower-level office and storage area in Twin Maples. “It would have been impossible to maintain six-foot distancing in our space,” Ms. D’Alberti noted. So last month, ABC clients were asked to pull into the back parking lot and roll down a window, where a masked board member -- standing 6-feet from the car -- identified the client by name and the size diaper they need. Another gloved volunteer would place the family’s supplies on the ground near the car’s back seat or trunk. The client would then load diapers and wipes into her own car. Clients were also offered sanitizer to complete the transaction.
Recently, ABC expanded the support it provides client families through a partnership with the '28 Days Project'. Now families not only receive diapers and wipes, but also feminine hygiene products, which '28 Days Project' provides and ABC distributes.
“Our clients are so appreciative of this added help, and we are delighted to be partnering with '28 Days Project',” said D’Alberti.
The Area Baby Center was founded in 1999 and has been distributing baby supplies to families in need every year since. The all-volunteer board handles distributions, shopping and inventory, fund-raising, and administration. ABC is a 501(c)(3) entity, funded entirely by local donations and grants.