WAYNE, NJ - The COVID-19 pandemic has left infants, particularly those from low-income and at-risk communities, without necessities like formula, diapers, and baby wipes. Panic buying, unemployment or underemployment, and social distancing has made it nearly impossible for many Passaic County residents to provide these essentials for their families.

To meet this increasingly growing need, Passaic County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) has launched a donation drive and is seeking the following baby items: diapers, formula, wipes, and clothing. Instructions for delivering donations are at the end of this article.

“Our focus is always on child safety and wellbeing,” Passaic County CASA Executive Director Erica Fischer-Kaslander said.

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“Recently, the families and foster parents we work with, as well as their caseworkers, have been calling Passaic County CASA staff in a panic unable to locate or afford basic essentials for the children we are all charged to protect. Families are running low on formula, diapers, and baby wipes, and some parents have children who are rapidly outgrowing their clothing and are in desperate need of new clothing,” Fischer-Kaslander said. “We knew we had to do something because child welfare is at stake.”

Passaic County CASA is a non-profit organization that normally recruits, trains, and supervises volunteers to advocate on behalf of children involved in the foster care and child welfare systems. However, since the beginning of this national crisis, Passaic County CASA has broadened the scope of its services to ensure the best interests of all children in the child welfare system are met by supporting community issues like food insecurity, mental health, and education. Donations to the drive will go to support children in foster care, the broader child welfare system or struggling families that have sought help through Passaic County CASA or another member of the Passaic County Pandemic Partnership.  The Passaic County Pandemic Partnership, or PCPP, was founded when Passaic County CASA joined forces with five other Passaic County-based non-profits at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic after the Executive Directors of the six organizations realized they could amplify their impact by working together. 

In collaboration with Passaic County CASA, the five other member organizations, The Boys and Girls Club of Paterson and Passaic, CUMAC, Oasis - A Haven for Women and Children NJ, Paterson Habitat for Humanity, and Star of Hope Ministries, are now able to ensure that families in need continue to have uninterrupted access to crucial services while minimizing community spread of COVID-19.

All donations to the drive must be new, and all deliveries must adhere to social distancing and other CDC guidelines.

To schedule a delivery time and for additional information on how to donate, please visit https://www.passaiccountycasa.org/donategoods.

Families involved in the child welfare system in Passaic County who are in need of help should e-mail help@passaiccountycasa.org. For more information about Passaic County CASA, visit www.passaiccountycasa.org.