Miss A Columnist

Amber Lynch is City Editor for Charlotte and Charleston. She is passionate about family, fashion, food, wine, books and giving. She is a published poet and author of the children’s book, Where Did Grandlee Go. The unexpected loss of her father brought an appreciation for the mere moments in life. She grew up in Charleston, South Carolina cultivating a fondness for southern style and Lowcountry cuisine. Her father founded a restaurant business that is still family run. While the beaches and beauty of the Carolina coast kept her captivated she yearned to explore beyond the comforts of home. Amber found herself in New York City working for Tiffany & Co. in Community Affairs and later as the Publicity Director for Rizzoli Publications. She met her husband in NYC. Longing for southern roots they relocated to Charlotte, NC. She has settled into the southern paced yet culturally enriched city. Since then she has worked as a public relations consultant and more recently as Director of Business Development for W by Worth. Raising three young sons keeps her busy, but grounded. She has adopted Charlotte as her home and is avidly involved in the community through church, schools and charities.

Charity Spotlight: Baby Bundles

Photo Credit: Baby Bundles

Photo Credit: Baby Bundles

Baby Bundlesbased in Charlotte, recently held their third annual fundraising event, Great Expectations: Making an Impact One Newborn at a Time, at Myers Park Country Club on Wednesday, March 11, 2015. The annual coffee get together featured speaker Ariana Shahinfar, a developmental psychologist in the department of psychology at UNC-Charlotte and Board Member of the Learning Collaborative. Baby Bundles raised almost $19,000 during the hour and half event and is still receiving funds and donations as a result. Clothing newborns with love is the mission of this heartfelt organization.

Volunteer (Photo Credit: Baby Bundles)

Volunteer (Photo Credit: Baby Bundles)

Founded by three women who shared a common loss of a child, Baby Bundles was born. Emily Harry, Heather Leavett and Cat Long were seeking a way to heal their hearts after loss. While providing for women with a similar loss can be difficult, there is a sincere need for support of those who have just welcomed a newborn. “Baby Bundles fills a big gap for moms and dads in poverty. You bring badly needed ‘bundles of joy’ filled to keep their little ones cozy and cared for in those first months.” praised Carol Hardison, CEO, Crisis Assistance Ministry, a partner of Baby Bundles. For many low income mothers after the joy subsides they are left with overwhelming task of clothing and feeding a child. Baby Bundles provides a bundle of essentials that will not only brighten the future of each family, but will bring a sense of relief during a time of exhaustion.

Ariana Shahinfar (Photo Credit: Baby Bundles)

Ariana Shahinfar (Photo Credit: Baby Bundles)

Ariana Shahinfar explained that “Our great expectations for our own children are dependent on realizing the bright futures of all of our community’s children.” A loving, nurturing first year of life is imperative to the development of a growing child paving the way for a successful future. The program and event is dedicated to Low Harry, Joseph, Mary and Sarah Leavitt and Catherine Long whose short lives are leaving a lasting legacy through Baby Bundles.

Baby Bundles Board

L to R front row: Co-Founder Emily Harry, Co-Founder Cat Long, Co-Founder Heather Leavitt, Board Chair Jennifer Bryson, Kathy Boone, Executive Director Rebecca Grant and Jenn Plym. Back Row: Event Chair Jessica Fallis, Margaret Siegel, Ken Garfield, Molly Boone and Martin Welton (Photo Credit: Baby Bundles)

Nonprofit Name: Baby Bundles

Address: PO Box 12303, Charlotte, NC 28220

Website: www.babybundlesnc.org

Phone: 980.275.0963

Twitter Handle: @babybundlesnc

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/babybundlesnc

Instagram: babybundlesnc

Mission/About: Bringing a new baby into the family is an exciting yet daunting experience for everyone. Feelings of uncertainty can be magnified when that family struggles with poverty. Baby Bundles’ mission is to provide newborn essentials to families in financial need in the Charlotte area, helping them get a positive start with their babies and directly impacting their roles as parents.

When and who founded the nonprofit? In 2010, Baby Bundles was born through the heartbreak suffered by three mothers who each lost babies either late in their pregnancies or just after delivery. These moms, Emily Harry, Heather Leavitt and Cat Long, wanted to find a way to honor the children they lost. After speaking with Presbyterian Hospital where each mom delivered, the idea of providing newborn essentials to low-income mothers was hatched, a need the nursing staff knew was great. Each day we work to fulfill the founders’ vision – to provide struggling families with newborn essentials and to remove one barrier families face caring for an infant.

Is the organization a 501c3? Yes

Could you describe the nonprofit? When a newborn enters the world, it is imperative that the baby builds a secure emotional relationship with a primary caregiver who is sensitive and responsive to the infant’s needs. Decades of research tell us that this secure emotional attachment provides the foundation for physical health, cognitive growth, and positive mental health not just in infancy and early childhood, but throughout life. This attachment can be derailed when a family is experiencing economic hardship. Economic pressure can effect parenting behaviors and interfere with the ability to provide sensitive caregiving.   It is Baby Bundles’ goal to work at the root of the cycle, by easing some of the economic pressure that accompanies the birth of a new baby.

We expect a lot out of a big green Bundle filled with baby clothes! That is why we select partners who can distribute our Bundles to those who need them most and provide additional help as required. We partner with Presbyterian Hospital, Nurse-Family Partnership, Ronald McDonald House and new this year, Crisis Assistance Ministry. We are building relationships with Thompson’s Child and Family Focus as well as Catholic Charities Diocese of Charlotte. Each of these partners is able to provide support and guidance to the recipients of our Bundles.

Where are you based and what sets the organization apart? We are based locally, in Charlotte. We are different than many agencies because we were founded by three moms who found a passion for serving the fragile families in Charlotte.

What initiatives is the organization currently working on? We are working to fill 500 Bundles this year to deliver to our Community Partners. To be able to do this, we would like to increase the number of our volunteers. We plan to have regular Bundling Days at our warehouse to allow volunteers to help us meet our goal.

What annual fundraising events does the organization hold? Baby Bundles hosted its 3rd Annual Great Expectations Fundraiser on March 11th, 2015. Over 175 guests gathered at Myers Park Country Club to enjoy coffee and learn how Baby Bundles impacts the Charlotte community.  

What achievements is the organization most proud of? According to Council for Children’s Rights, there were 5196 Medicaid births in Mecklenburg County in 2013. In 2014, we were able to reach 300 families, a small percentage of the actual need. In an attempt to reach more families, this fall we expanded our community partners to include Crisis Assistance Ministry. This expansion increases our reach by 96 families this year and 288 families next year. For 2015, we are committed to deliver 500 Bundles, an increase of 66% over Bundles delivered in 2014.

Do you work with any brands on cause marketing products or services? Amazon Smile

How can people get involved? There are multiple ways people can volunteer with Baby Bundles.

  • Build a Bundle: Individuals or groups can build their own Bundle. Using an easy check-list, fill one or more green Bundling bags to donate to families in need.
  • Host a clothing drive:   We collect new and gently used clothing, books and blankets to be included in our Bundles.
  • Warehouse volunteer: Come to our warehouse to help build bundles, sort donations and replenish inventory. This is a great activity for a corporate service day, church community outreach, school civic project or private volunteer party.

 

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