GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Baby Box founder Hinda Bodinger passed off the new parent outreach program to Community Health Programs
As of Jan. 1, CHP will run the Baby Box program. The transition comes after distribution of more than 1,000 baby boxes to Berkshire families over the past five years.
Bodinger said Berkshire Baby Box's education program, including distribution of safe-sleep baby boxes for infants, has outgrown its volunteer beginnings. Bodinger's wish is for the program to have an administrative home with more robust family resources.
"This is an exciting growth step for Berkshire Baby Box," Bodinger said. "With CHP taking over this all-county initiative, we can realize our vision that Berkshire Baby Boxes would become an anticipated and treasured rite of passage for new families in the Berkshires. CHP can also offer additional pathways to more services for expectant parents."
CHP's Family Services team has been a steady partner of Berkshire Baby Box, and the program is changing hands with a full supply of safe sleep boxes for babies and infant supplies. Even during COVID-19, the program has carried on virtually.
Inspired by a family support movement with its roots in Finland, Berkshire Baby Box tackles the challenges of rural health care, the unique needs of immigrant and low-income families and raises awareness of infant sleep safety. The Berkshire Baby Box and its programs are available to all new moms and babies in the county, regardless of their income.
"Under the best of circumstances, having a new baby can be a challenging and very often isolating experience, and especially during this pandemic," Michelle Derr, director of CHP Family Services said. "We are so impressed with what Hinda has done to establish this great program for families around Berkshire County, and we are honored to take over going forward."
The Berkshire Baby Box transition is already under way, with programming and outreach efforts getting organized for 2021 with new parents.
For information, call CHP Family Services, (413) 528-0457.
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Janell Hostetler will see patients of all ages. She received both her bachelor's and master's degrees in nursing from Chamberlain University in Illinois, and she is board-certified in family health by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.
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