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Pregnancy care packages made for expecting moms as part of MLK Jr. project

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Volunteers make pregnancy care packages at Robin's Nest, Jan. 15, 2018 > 7

By Taylor Henry

For NJ Advance Media

Dozens of volunteers paraded around the room at Robins' Nest in Glassboro on Monday with paper gift bags in hand collecting baby toys, onesies and diapers from distributing volunteers.

The bags were pregnancy care packages for local expecting mothers in need. Making the packages was part of a day of service to honor Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Robins' Nest, the Glassboro-based nonprofit supporting children and families in New Jersey's 10 southernmost counties, partnered with Gloucester County NAACP and the campaign team of Gov.elect Phil Murphy and incoming Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver team for the day of service, bringing volunteers with them.

"It's just great to see everyone come together to celebrate the birthday, the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King," said Gloucester County NAACP President Loretta Winters. "Everyone is here today in service in his memory."

Robins' Nest Marketing Manager Caitlin Graham said the nonprofit expected 30 volunteers, but nearly double that amount showed up. The 250 packages were completed faster than she expected.

"We got done so fast, getting the bags together," said volunteer Kaythleen Gould of Somerdale. "It was really beautiful."

Gould was asked to volunteer by her grandson Ian Mosley of Lindenwold, who came with the Murphy/Oliver team.

"Ian texted me and said he needed volunteers, and I said okay," she said. "It's really nice, I would be sitting at home doing nothing."

Expecting mothers in Cumberland, Salem and Gloucester counties who are enrolled in one of Robins' Nest's support programs will receive the packages, according to Vice President of Prevention Services Niurca Louis.

Some of the programs include Parents as Teachers, which focuses on positive parenting practices, Healthy Families, which links parents with health and social resources, and Keeping Families Together, which provides housing for families at risk of homelessness. Robins' Nest serves 750 mothers annually, Louis said. 

"It's about the children who weren't always as lucky to win the zip code lottery," said Congressman Donald Norcross. "I live in the city of Camden, and I understand because I see firsthand the things that go on in my city would never happen out in some of the other Cherry Hills or Vorhees. And it's not the kid's fault."

Robins' Nest COO Melissa Fox said that anything can change a person's trajectory in life, from the change of a zip code to a loss of a job.

"Sixty percent of the people we serve are women," she said. "Many of them are women with children. Of course, some of them are women who are battling a substance abuse disorder. They're battling mental illness, domestic violence, challenging situations that are every day making it difficult for them to move forward - not impossible, but difficult.

"That's why we're here, because we want to help them," she continued.

Robins' Nest purchased the supplies in the packages, like baby books, wipes, and clothes, with grants from the Department of Children and Families Division of Family and Community Partnerships, according to Louis. 

Louis said church groups sometimes donate items like diapers to Robins' Nest programs. Diapers are crucial, she said, because they are not covered by public assistance. 

Winters said their Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service will become an annual event.

"This is going to be a new tradition between Robins' Nest and the NAACP of Gloucester County," she said.

Source : http://www.nj.com/gloucester-county/index.ssf/2018/01/robins_nest_mlk_day.html

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