MUSCATINE, Iowa–As the promise of spring brings the promise of new life to the natural world, United Way of Muscatine has begun making preparation to welcome Muscatine’s very newest residents with their annual community baby shower. A tradition for the past seven years, United Way seeks the community’s help in providing the best possible start for local babies and families in need.
United Way of Muscatine Program Manager Nichole Sorgenfrey shared that the community baby shower started after she and others learned about the success of similar drives in other places. “We heard from other United Ways that they make this a fun April showers event and we thought it was something we could do to help organizations that help moms in need.”
Beginning April first, United Way will accept donations of new or gently used baby supplies to divide between Lutheran Social Services, the Muscatine Community Y, the Salvation Army of Muscatine County, Muscatine Center for Social Action, the Muscatine Diaper Bank, and Trinity Muscatine Public Health. The drive welcomes all kinds of supplies. This year, Sorgenfrey identified baby food and formula, unexpired car seats, baby bottles, and diapers. They also accept baby blankets, personal care products designed specifically for babies (such as lotion and shampoo), and healthcare basics such as thermometers. You may bring donations to the collection barrel outside of the United Way office at 208 West Second Street Suite 201, Muscatine, or call them at 563-263-5963 to schedule to have items picked up for you. United Way also accepts monetary donations, which you may mail to their office or make online using the link on their website. Along with encouraging individual donations, Sorgenfrey also challenged workplaces to hold drives of their own to either raise funds or collect supplies.
In previous years, the community baby shower has brought in approximately 500 items each spring. Sorgenfrey estimates this represents thousands of dollars worth of supplies given to families in need over the lifetime of the fundraiser. “In retrospect, that’s easily $10,000,” she reflected.
Because the COVID-19 pandemic has created more financial need for more people across the county than in years past, Sorgenfrey hopes people will rally behind the event this year and make it one of the most successful yet. By doing so, the community will ensure all of its children get the good start they need to thrive throughout their lives. “It helps a child start off right,” stressed Sorgenfrey.