Westside Baby Programs
We pass along, free of charge, diapers and gently used clothes and equipment like car seats, highchairs, strollers and cribs to contribute to the health and safety of local children. As diapers are not covered by other government programs such as Food Stamps or WIC, we fill an enormous gap for babies in our neighborhoods. We work toward a day when children have their basic needs met through enough diapers, clothing and equipment to keep them healthy, safe and happy.
WestSide Baby accepts donations of gently used clothing and shoes, sizes newborn to 12. Volunteers inspect and sort every item we receive and then pack it again to fill an order placed by a social service provider working directly with families in need. We also place a book and toy in every clothing bag to support literacy and healthy brain development for each child. In 2013 we distributed 5,176 clothing bags throughout King County.
Diapers cost an average of 23 cents each, which can take $70 to $100 from the family budget of vulnerable families who must then choose between diapers and food or gas for their cars. Babies who are diaper deprived, suffer from diaper rash and cry more, sleep less and negatively impact already stressed families. The risk of child abuse rises with every overused diaper. In King County there are 10,000 children under the age of 2 living in poverty - to diaper these children for a year it would take 22 MILLION diapers. In 2013 we distributed 824,635 diapers and are hoping to distribute 1 million in 2014. The need is so great; it requires many partners.
Car Seat Reuse & Recycling
WestSide Baby accepts used car seats and thoroughly inspects them before passing them back into the community. Retailing between $45 and $600, car seats seem like a luxury when compared to rent and food. However, car crashes are the #1 accidental killer of children in King County. In 2013 we distributed 600+ car seats.
The service we provide not only fills an incredible need in our community, it opens the doors for social workers, who are delivering the essentials we provide, to focus on supporting families by helping them deal with complicated issues such as homelessness, domestic violence or other factors of poverty.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
In 2013 WestSide Baby was able to serve 24,000 children throughout King County and distributed $1.7 million worth of essential items. While we are extremely proud of this accomplishment, the need for essential items we distribute for kids in our community is much greater.
On April 9, WestSide Baby's main facility in White Center experienced a small electrical fire that eliminated power for our donation and volunteer center. This means we've been unable to fill orders for 350 children per week, as the building is completely dark, cold and unsafe. For each of those children, we are acting quickly.
Since this is not the first time this building has had major maintenance issues, we have decided to take a brave step and move our entire operation because leaving children in the lurch is unacceptable to us. We are moving to a warehouse down the street, but because this move was not planned until the summer we need help now!
Because of continually increasing demand and an unmet community need, WestSide Baby is excited to be expanding our services as we aim to serve our existing service areas even better. Currently our primary services happen in south King County. It is our goal to become more present, to serve more children in more areas throughout King County.