Fort Campbell Courier | June 28th, 2012
Photo by Yvette Smith | Courier
ASYMCA baby program delivers bundles of joy
First Lt. Elizabeth Podest holds her newborn daughter Isabella Grace Haslett, born Monday. Podest received a gift from the ASYMCA baby bundle program. The bundle contains a baby outfit, books, diapers, wipes and other items.
by Yvette Smith, Courier staff
Babies aren’t the only things being delivered at Blanchfield Army Community Hospital. Fort Campbell Armed Services YMCA presents new moms with an additional bundle of joy.
Since 2005, the ASYMCA has provided baby bundles to every baby born at BACH. That is no small feat. In seven years, an estimated 200-250 baby bundles have been delivered every month for babies born to military Families at on post.
“The baby bundle program is a program that has been offered at three other ASYMCA locations for many years. We decided to adopt this program in 2005,” ASYMCA Executive Director Shirley West said.
“The other locations only provided bundles to E-4 and below Families. We decided when we started our program to provide a baby bundle to every baby born at Blanchfield,” said West.
The staff at the BACH mother baby ward knows the impact these bundles can make first hand.
“The moms really appreciate it. They have a few little things, like books, wipes, diapers, just to kind of get them started,” said Capt. Katrina Humbert, assistant clinical nurse. “The bundles are really nice because the parents get to go home with a little something.”
New mom 1st Lt. Elizabeth Podest, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, was pleasantly surprised Wednesday morning. “It was really thoughtful and definitely unexpected,” said Podest. “It’s nice to know they think of the spouses during the time husbands are gone, and maybe can’t be here for the birth. My husband is deployed, so it’s nice to know that they have the spouses in mind.”
Currently, a huge challenge for the program is the availability of volunteers. The constant fluctuation of military Families arriving and departing Fort Campbell has created a shortage of volunteers available to help make the bundles. “With the PCS and ETSing, we have lost a lot of our volunteers.” said Vanessa Waller, Backdoor Boutique manager. “Recently we’ve gone from 17 volunteers down to three.”
Due to the shortage, the packing and assembling of the baby bundles is currently done weekly by Veronica Davis, ASYMCA administrative assistant. “I make the baby bundles and take them to BACH on a weekly basis.”
The delivery and presentation of baby bundles to the Families are currently done by the units. “Initially, we at the ASYMCA delivered the baby bundles ourselves.” said Davis. “Once we realized it was going to be such a huge task, we enlisted the assistance of the units here on Fort Campbell to help us.”
“With the help of the BCT’s and all the tenant units, baby bundles are delivered on a daily basis to each Family of a baby born at BACH,” said West.
Most items in the baby bundles are donated. The contents of the baby bundles vary based on what is received. “We use things like travel sized q-tips, wipes, diapers and any small baby items. We put a small special gift and some candy in the bags for the new momma also,” said Davis. “The feedback received from the Families has been very positive and they are always very appreciative of the gift.”
At times, donations run low. “What we don’t get donated, we purchase.” said West. “The Clarksville chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution has provided many items for the bundles for the past few months.”
Anyone wishing to make donations to the baby bundles program can drop items off at the boutique or at the ASYMCA main office at 3068 Reed St. Anyone interested in volunteering can contact the ASYMCA at (270) 798-7422.