July 20th, 2024

Local teen organizes Baby Bundle Drive for struggling mothers and their infants

By Steffanie Costigan - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on February 16, 2024.

Submitted photo - Lethbridge teen Akshara Nagaruru is helping to organize the Baby Bundle Drive for struggling mothers and their infants.

After spending time volunteering at a medical detox unit, Lethbridge teen Akshara Nagaruru realized something needed to be done to help mothers struggling to support themselves and their babies.

At the time Nagaruru was only 15-years old when she felt inspired to research ways she could help struggling mothers. It didn’t take long for that research to pay off.

“I was like, ‘I don’t think there’s much I could do. I don’t have the funds for it, I don’t really have that support,’ she says. “However, I came across the Youth and Action grant, which was offered by the Community Foundation of Lethbridge.”

Nagaruru, now 16 years old, realized that with the grant, she could use her experience working in the detox unit to make a difference in people’s lives.

“Basically, through these opportunities, I’ve got to know a little bit more about community involvement, and the opportunity that I can take initiative in my own community. And with my experience in the medical detox unit, as well, I got to see a different side of things; people I never interacted with before, where I saw a lot of young mothers and pregnant woman really struggling financially, as well as in general trying to support their babies and their young infants.”

Nagaruru applied for the grant and received $1,500 which she put toward organizing the Baby Bundle Drive.

“I’m able to do this project, and overall, this project is for me to basically promote the wellness of these targeted groups. With the money, we have bought several different supplies, baby supplies that I noticed were quite difficult to purchase, especially for these parents and these families who are already struggling to support themselves.”

Interfaith Food Bank provides a baby program where they distribute baby bundles each month that contain baby food, diapers, milk, and formula. Nagaruru is hoping to add more to these baby bundles at Interfaith Food Bank such as soothers, wipes, baby bibs, milk bottles, blankets and more.

“If we think about it, it’s quite a lot of money. With $1,500, there’s not so much we can do to help them out throughout the whole year.

“That was actually another part of my project, not only to just help get the supplies for these babies, but to also promote that around the community to see if those in our community could also help out just as much as I wanted to help them and to share this.”

She encourages people to donate appropriate items to the Baby Bundle, such as baby formula, diapers, baby food, baby shampoo, baby wash, soothers, bibs, burping cloths, rattles, teethers, safety supplies, outlet covers, door latches, gift cards, or even money.

“I’m basically just hoping to bring light towards these kinds of issues and help have more people engaged in their community. I think community involvement is supposed to be so important. As a society I think we’re always needing to help each other, and through this project and hoping that other people can find a way to give back to the community also in the future months.”

Interfaith Food Bank, which provides about 50 baby bundles a month to struggling mothers and families, is excepting Baby Bundle donations. Nagaruru points out Interfaith Food Bank and those interested in helping can make a donation to Interfaith Food Bank in person or at https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/m/8546.

“I think it’s so important to make those connections and relationships to other people, those that you might not ever come across again. And yeah, really, I just want to make a positive impact on our community.”

During Reading Week in February, Akshara and some friends will be on-site at the food bank bundling up supplies to go out with Baby Bundles in March.

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