When Women Come Together For Mothers in Need
If I am being completely honest, I felt very overwhelmed the day of this event.
The night before I took my baby to the ER for a high fever and hours of crying. I returned late to wake up to another sick child and was short on childcare the day of the diaper party.
I forgot (no really this is how we roll these days) that a huge shipment was arriving at my house in the middle of the day along with an unloading crew of three men. My mom coordinated the shipment, our nanny arrived to help despite a false alarm of an impending delivery (she is a midwife), and I jumped through some entertaining, yet exhausting hoops to get everything set in place for our fundraiser.
What appeared on the surface as a bunch of frustrating distractions and challenges actually turned out to hammer the message home as to the purpose of this event. As a working mom that day, I faced unexpected circumstances that impacted my ability to "go into the office." I exhausted resources to do what I knew had to be done despite the fact my kids really needed me that day. But in the end, I had resources and support to make this event a success and get through my regular "work day."
Despite a late night at the ER, it was only a five minute drive. My baby had access to incredible care and we were back home within an hour. Our copay was $150. Cheap? No, but manageable. My challenges were barely a taste of what it takes for so many mothers to just survive and ensure the health of their babies.
I am so appreciative of stressful days when I feel as if I am running a marathon.
Did I really just admit that? It is because I can run it. I might kick and scream and text my friends about my drama all the way (pretty typical behavior for me) but I have the strength, support and ability to run the great marathon that is motherhood in the "fast lane." We could not have pulled this quick turnaround effort together so well without the village of other women who came out to support us, participated from their phones and computers, and donated so generously.
Jean, our tag designer, helped sell raffle tickets. Kelly from Bon Glaze dropped off amazing baby donuts in plenty of time for set up. As did Shannon from Constellation Brands (wine). Bob at Fragile helped me put together Evey's old crib for the diaper bin. Ashley, owner of our raffle sponsor, lilywrap, not only contributed but also showed up with all three girls in tow including her newborn! So many women came out to drop in and support this event. Thank you!
While I keep coming home to diaper donations and they keep showing up at Fragile Gifts in Sandy Springs, we are close to about 4,000 diapers donated to the local distribution group, Helping Mamas. Wipes, clothes, formula and other items were also collected. That is about enough diapers to keep two Atlanta babies fully diapered for an entire year!
We want your help year round, so if you live in Atlanta, please consider continuing drop offs at Fragile in Sandy Springs whenever you have extra diapers you have not used.
Opened packages are fine, as well as extra sample formula, baby and kids clothes etc. Bob and Susan are so kind to be an official drop off for us!
Between online donations, the raffle and in store purchases, we raised at least $1000 to purchase diapers for refugee camps housing Syrian Refugees. We are still taking donations so feel free to donate tax deductible at www.fosterswell.org. So far, we should be able to purchase well over 7,000 diapers with funds raised so far!
Brooke with Aysza from Helping Mamas and Swell Graphic Designer, Jean
So often I feel like a tiny contributor to the greater community. There are thousands more babies in need of diapers and many other things. It is hard to be keenly aware of all that I cannot accomplish through Swell Forever or personally. However, giving back is a state of mind that is infectious. Ignore the political craziness on the news for a week and perhaps just focus on one concrete thing you can do for others. We have an amazing opportunity in our own community to inspire change. Don't waste it! It is so easy to pay love forward and those who came together for our Diaper Party proved to me that little efforts mount into big ones to become a tipping point of great good in our world.
I know a lot of you moms feel overwhelmed and have a lot on your plate. However, it is those very times you can relate to someone else whose needs are far greater.
If you can afford to do it, maybe commit to buying an extra pack of diapers every time you purchase some for your child, and donating them. No change in routine required.
Short on time? Set up recurring payments to a favorite charity for the year. Maybe 5 minutes of your day required, and the result is continual giving.
You can be a fierce champion for others in the little things, even if you feel as if you are underwater yourself most of the time!
And Our Adorabe Swell Mamas: Holly + Michelle!
A few remaining thoughts from our partners for this event:
"When a child is left in a dirty diaper all day, this not only affects their immediate health but their well being in the future. Insufficient diaper supply is linked to physical health concerns, child abuse and neglect, mental health concerns, and economic well being."
Helping Mamas, Atlanta
"For the past several months, Carry the Future (CTF) volunteers throughout Greece, Serbia, Jordan and France have reported an urgent need for diapers in the camps. Our volunteer teams have purchased diapers with their own funds, at the request of our in-country partners and there are never enough to go around. Often babies are not changed as frequently as they should be, resulting in severe diaper rash and other complications."
Carry the Future, Distribution to Refugee Camps Abroad
Photo Credits: Stephanie Madison Photography/Atlanta