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Hope and HIIT

On Thursday, June 21st at 5:30pm, Bdefined is hosting a benefit class for the Hope Pregnancy Center. The class is free, just bring a pack of diapers. Read the story below from one of our clients and you will understand the why for the diapers and why we are glad to offer this event.

Story of Hope:

“I am one of the many volunteers who work at Hope Pregnancy Center, a ministry of Williamsburg House of Mercy.  Our office is on Jamestown Road, right past the Habitat ReStore.  All our services are free, confidential, and open to anyone.

Our objectives are:

  1. To establish and maintain a relationship with the mother
  2. To service the working poor with diapers, formula, and other needs for their babies
  3. To be a cheerleader for them, to let them know someone cares about them and their baby.

I started as a volunteer at Hope Pregnancy in October, 2017 having recently retired.

I fully expected that I would be answering phones and taking messages.  What I quickly learned was that as a volunteer I would be an advocate for the client, I am their primary contact with Hope Pregnancy; I work with them to understand their situation, their needs, and how best to meet these needs.

When I began volunteering I just did not understand the scope of poverty in Williamsburg and the surrounding areas.

I have learned that 1 in 3 children aged 3 or younger live in low-income families.  One way this poverty affects children aged 3 or younger is in diaper need.

Federal aid programs, such as WIC and SNAP, don’t cover diapers.  About 30% of low income mothers report not being able to afford diapers; and one in 12 moms admit to “stretching” their diaper supply, leaving dirty diapers on their children or cleaning and re-using a disposable diaper because they can’t afford new ones.   Where these mothers live, there isn’t a large grocery store nearby, they don’t have transportation, so they end up walking to the nearby 7-11, where they pay upwards of $20 for a pack of diapers, more than twice the cost at a regular grocery store, and their money is quickly gone.  By providing these women with diapers, we help to stretch their budget.

Williamsburg House of Mercy has an area-wide diaper bank that gives out 30 diapers a month per child to those in need.  Hope Pregnancy Center tries to give clients 60 diapers a month.  The free diapers are a big help but are still only giving at most 1-2 diapers a day.  Additionally, most day care centers require moms to drop off a supply of diapers with their child.  Not doing so could keep their child from daycare, and the mother from her job.  For all these reasons, we at Hope Pregnancy Center are in constant need of diapers.

We also provide maternity clothes to the mothers.  Many of our clients work in the service industry, so we are always in need of black leggings and tops.

When a pregnant mom is ready to deliver their baby, we bless her with a layette of baby clothes, bottles, lotions, bibs, little socks, etc.  We also provide a car seat, a pack and play, and baby formula, if it is needed.

Today I’d like to share the stories of 2 clients for whom I am currently an advocate

Client A came to us just a few weeks ago, 20 weeks pregnant and homeless.  She literally had no where to go.  Her ex-husband left her when she was being treated for ovarian cancer the first time. She is re-married, but her husband is in Columbia and can’t afford the cost of a Visa to come to the US.  Her spiral of homelessness started when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer the second time, was unable to work, lost her job, thus couldn’t pay her rent.

Hope Pregnancy brought this situation to the House of Mercy, and thankfully working with the Salvation Army, found her temporary housing in a local motel.  She will shortly be part of the Salvation Army 2year program of housing and assistance.   I brought her groceries, as she had no food during this time, and I continue to stay in contact with her to see if she needs anything. I visited her twice this past week. She is alone, frightened, sits in a motel room 24-7, is struggling with depression but is very grateful for anything that is done for her, and always greets me with a smile.    The Hope Pregnancy Center will continue to work with her throughout her pregnancy and ongoing after the birth of the baby.

Client B came to our attention 4 weeks ago.  She had just had an emergency C section. As she was returning “home” to the motel she is living in, our Director met her with groceries, diapers, wipes, formula, etc.  As they were climbing the steps to her room, the manager of the motel was angry with our client, as she was behind in cleaning 6 rooms that day.  Apparently, that is how she keeps her rent down.   I went to visit her the next day with additional diapers and a few baby items.  I spent an hour talking with her, concerned that she had just had a C section and was alone, with just the newborn.  There is no one for this woman.  The baby’s dad left her about 6 months ago and hasn’t been heard from.  She is currently out of work, due to the birth of the baby, but is anxious to get back and earn money. I visited her again this week with groceries, diapers, formula, and wipes.  She is pretty destitute at this point, wants desperately to get out of that environment (extremely unsafe). We at Hope Pregnancy will continue to help and guide this woman.

As I said at the beginning of my story, one of the goals of Hope is to maintain a relationship with the mothers, mentoring them in parenting, healthy relationships, etc.  We keep them coming back by offering bigger sized clothing as the baby grows, up to size 2T.  This way we as client advocates can help the new mom and ask questions about the mom and baby’s safety, and in general check on their lives, jobs, and family. ”

HIIT Class:

We believe that our client and the Hope Pregnancy Center are making a powerful difference in the community and why we are looking for a studio full of diapers on June 21. Join Bridgit, Stephanie, Jen and Anthony for a HIIT class that promises to challenging, fun and rewarding. According to the New York Times, HIIT training can improve strength and endurance at any age. Sign up through this link and we can’t wait to do some HIIT for the Hope Center.