MANSFIELD – Members of the community looking to give back to local mothers and babies can look no further than We ACT.
The community organization is currently collecting new baby items to donate to families attending the Community Baby Shower on Sept. 9, hosted by Richland Source. The shower is an extension of the Source’s solutions journalism reporting on infant mortality, and will work as a way to connect mothers and babies to their local resources.
We ACT co-founders Angel Ross-Taylor and Brigitte Coles knew partnering with the Community Baby Shower would be a natural fit for their organization. The mission of We ACT is to respond to community needs with love, peace, respect and understanding.
“We’re honored to be a part of any event that empowers young families with the education and physical resources they need,” Coles said. “Infant mortality is very real in this community, and I don’t know if people understand it, so we wanted to help raise awareness.”
The We ACT organization started collecting new baby items at their Safe Summer Fridays block parties, a natural fit as the block parties aimed to bring wholesome family fun to the community.
“We figured we had the community there as a captive audience, and we figured it would be good for people to bring baby items to block parties as well,” said Ross-Taylor.
From there, We ACT branched out their item collection to a number of local organizations including the Richland County Prosecutor’s Office, the North End Community Improvement Collaborative, the District 5 Area Agency on Aging, the Richland County Youth and Family Council, Mid-Ohio Indivisible, the Linden Road Presbyterian Church, the Richland County Democratic Women’s Caucus, and Richland Source.
Each organization received a cardboard box decorated with baby-themed wrapping paper, and displayed their box to give the community the opportunity to fill the box with donations.
“Everybody has been very excited about it and glad to be a part of it,” Coles said. “The Richland County Democratic Women’s Caucus filled their box up in a day. The more we get the word out, hopefully the more people we’ll have to donate.”
“Our box is full at the Prosecutor’s Office,” added Ross-Taylor. “One lady who is a new grandma, her daughter lives in Columbus and when she mentioned the baby shower, her daughter filled our box with clothing her baby grew out of and couldn’t wear. She doesn’t even work here or live here anymore, and that was so nice.”
We ACT is accepting new or like-new items of all baby essentials, including diapers of all sizes, wipes, bottles, blankets, pacifiers, books and toys. The items will eventually be collected at Richland Source and sorted into gift bags to go home with mothers who attend the shower on Sept. 9.
In order to receive a gift bag, mothers must complete a punch card that will be issued upon arrival at the shower. A punch is earned by visiting each of the almost 20 community organizations that will be on hand to offer giveaways, education and information on their services.
In addition to accepting baby item donations, Richland Source is also collecting financial donations from the community with 100 percent of the proceeds going towards the purchase of baby items for the shower.
"Between individual donations and contributions from local businesses, we are nearing our goal of $8,000 raised to give back to families in our community," said Jay Allred, publisher of Richland Source.
The Community Baby Shower will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 9 at Richland Source. All donations to We ACT should be made by Friday, Sept. 1.
“If we can help in any way, that’s what we want to do,” Coles said. “Everything that we’ve planned over the last couple weeks has always been about making a difference and helping to empower the people in our community. If there’s a need or a cause and people need help, we will do anything we can to be a part of that.”