Diapers, clothing, food. Essentials every new mom needs. But a staggering 1 in 3 families (pre-COVID) have to choose between diapers and food for their babies—an impossible choice. That “diaper need” is an emphasis of Bundles of Joy, a Westchester-based organization started by friend-of-Dudley Adrienne Harper. The organization typically serves 2,000 families annually with continuous support—99 percent of the moms women of color. The COVID crisis has only amplified the urgency of the need Bundles of Joy fulfills, as they’ve seen a 350% increase in families, who come via homeless shelters, state/social service agencies, hospitals and domestic violence shelters.
So when Team Dudley sought a chance to give back to the community in the context of the health and socioeconomic crises brought to light this spring, Bundles of Joy was a natural fit. We spent a day assembling bundles for families, organizing donations (including $500k worth of clothing from Old Navy!) and gathering large quantities of diapers for a shelter pickup.
Here’s more from Adrienne on her incredible organization—and why its work truly matters to families in our community.
“Our Bundles are filled with everything a baby needs to thrive, including clothing, diapers, wipes, baby wash, lotion, toiletries, toothbrushes, bedding, formula, baby carriers, bouncers, strollers, safe sleep solutions—even toys and books, because those are also critical to development.
After Bundles are assembled, they're delivered or picked up by our partner agencies and distributed right to the moms and babies. Unlike other organizations, we don't limit how many Bundles a family can receive. We give continuous support to ensure families can focus on upward mobility, taking care of baby's needs so mom can focus on paying the rent, utilities and putting food on the table.
Diapers are not just diapers—they represent a child's health, safety and opportunity. Day cares, even those within the shelter system that are free or subsidized, do not provide diapers. If you don't have a day's supply, you can't send your child. So moms who don't have the ability to provide diapers miss out on days of work, lose wages—and the cycle continues. There are no government subsidies for diapers; moms are on their own. Some tell us they'll wash and air dry disposable diapers to get more use out of them; many have admitted to using towels or newspapers when they run out. The moms are very ashamed of their inability to buy diapers, so some will take their babies’ disposable diapers off while they’re home and only use one when they go out, so nobody will know. It's truly heartbreaking.
Our volunteers, AKA ‘Joymakers,’ are the lifeblood of what we do! We could not function without them. In one morning, DS accomplished what would have taken me all week to do alone. I urge people who are interested in volunteering for a few hours to do it. You just never know how many lives you can change for the better. There are also other ways to support what we do, whether it's purchasing items right from our registries, supporting our annual campaign, donating time or even expertise.
Bundles of Joy is about connecting with our moms, because we all share in this journey of motherhood. While my circumstances may look very different than the moms we serve, motherhood unites us.”