The call was about a woman who recently gave birth to twins. She had lost her job due to the coronavirus pandemic and her financial situation was grim. Her babies were growing fast and needed additional formula beyond what was supplied by WIC. But she couldn’t afford it.
“It is devastating to hear a mother say, ‘I have no idea how I am going to feed my baby,’ ” Megs Yunn says.
The founder of Beverly’s Birthdays made sure the family received extra formula for the hungry infants. And she realized that other families were in the same situation: in desperate need of help for their babies.
Since March, Beverly’s Birthdays has distributed more than $100,000 worth of baby formula, diapers, wipes and clothing. The work continues, with the non-profit organization holding its next Critical Baby Supplies Distribution Day on June 12 in Greensburg. The first distribution day took place on May 19 in East Liberty.
Founded in 2012, Beverly’s Birthdays usually provides birthday parties – over 1,800 in 2019 alone – for homeless and low-income kids. The organization partners with 55 social service agencies and 88 low-income schools to make sure kids are not forgotten on their birthdays. The mission grew to include Itty Bitty Birthday Cheer to provide essential items for newborns babies.
Supplying baby formula has become the newest passion for Megs since she learned the coronavirus outbreak was hampering access to infant supplies.
“WIC applications are backed up and for these mothers who are below the federal poverty threshold, buying something as necessary as baby formula becomes impossible,” she says. “Right now, we are expanding our Itty-Bitty programming to provide a social safety net to low-income families.”
Another challenge for new moms is the lack of grocery stores in some areas. Discount chains are the sole source of food and supplies in some neighborhoods.
So far, Megs has gained financial support from organizations and companies, including the Jefferson Regional Foundation, the Segal Family Foundation, Giant Eagle, the Western PA Diaper Bank, plus individual contributors.
“I know it’s a cliché” she says, “but it does take a village.”
Beverly’s Birthdays will host Babies in the ‘Burgh – Westmoreland County, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 12 at Achieva Early Intervention, 316 Donohoe Road, Greensburg. Families in need will be able to obtain formula, diapers, wipes and baby food. Registration is required.
Want to help the cause? Monetary donations can be made here.