Martin County Healthy Start Coalition Seeks Support to Fill Demand for Diapers
Beverly B Jones
Stuart, FL – Diapers are a necessity for every baby and the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the demand, stated Samantha Suffich, CEO of Martin County Healthy Start Coalition. “Our diaper pantry program has experienced over a 50% increase in enrollment, and we are struggling to have enough diapers available to meet the demand.”
Their clients are economically challenged in the best of times and with the extreme economic downturn, the demand has soared. In a normal month, they distribute 4,000 to 6,000 diapers. But in the new reality, they will need more than 10,000 diapers.
In December, the organization relocated their office to a more accessible location on Federal Highway in the Mayfair Plaza. “We felt that being in a location that was close to bus routes and major roads would make it easier for our clients. We also have more space that allows us to have private meeting rooms and to keep more supplies on hand for our clients,” Samantha noted.
COVID-19 pandemic has forced them to make changes to their normal routine, but all regular services are still available by telephone. Stuart diaper pantry hours have been scaled back to Thursdays from 9 am to 5 pm; in Indiantown the pantry is open on Tuesdays from12 pm to 5 pm. Normally clients collect diapers and other supplies two times a month, but to decrease client exposure and travel, the organization has encouraged clients to make a monthly visit where they will receive a larger supply of diapers.
The diaper pantry has two physical locations, one in Stuart at their main office at 963 SE Federal Highway and at the Indiantown Outreach Center at 15161 SW 169th Ave.
“The client contact is very important so we can check in with them and make sure they are on track, their babies are healthy, and they are receiving the services and support they need,” noted Valerie Bell, president of the board of directors.
To register for services, contact the Connect program at 772-219-1835. Connect is overseen by the Florida Department of Health in Martin County.
Martin County Healthy Start Coalition is registered on the Amazon Smile Charity List providing a very easy way to support the diaper pantry program. The link to purchase diapers and other supplies such as baby wipes and formula, is on their website (mchealthystart.org) All purchases are shipped directly to the Coalition’s office for distribution. An additional bonus is that when you sign up for the Amazon Smile program, .5% of all your purchases will be donated to your designated charity.
Gift cards for major stores like Target or Walmart or Visa/Mastercard are another easy way to replenish the supply.
The non-profit organization has been offering support and education to pregnant women and infants since 1993. There are currently 32 Healthy Start Coalitions in Florida offering expectant mothers risk screenings, prenatal care, parenting support, counseling and much more.
The program is a broad umbrella of support and services provided by a strong collaboration of community partners and agencies who have established a system of care in Martin County that ensures that all women have access to prenatal care and continue to provide that support for infants, children up to the age of three. Their vision is for every mother and family to be supported so that every baby is born healthy.
For more information visit their website at www.mchealthystart.org or phone 772-463-2888.
Captions for photos. Photos by Beverly B Jones Photo 2962) Lisa Kieffer, pre-natal outreach manager with Martin County Healthy Start Coalition meets client Kushboo Bohia in the parking lot with formula for her infant.
Photo 2933 ) Martin County Healthy Start Coalition CEO Samantha Suffich prepares bags of diapers for pick up on Thursdays in Stuart. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the nonprofit has experienced a 50% increase in demand for diapers. Public support is vital to ensure a sufficient supply. Donation information can be found at www.mchealthystart.org.
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