BUFFALO, N.Y. — The biggest fundraiser of the year for an organization helping new moms and families in need in Buffalo is going virtual this week.
The Buffalo Prenatal Perinatal Network addresses the issues of low birth-weight and infant mortality in Buffalo, by offering parenting classes and home visits, as well helping with housing, food, health insurance and transportation. Buffalo Prenatal is a support network that has been in existence for more than 30 years and touches approximately 1000 families each year. But 2020 is different from all the others.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, BPPN CEO LuAnn Brown had to temporarily end all home visits. They plan to restart porch visits soon. The organization also started to provide food to families that were struggling. Brown said the pandemic has made it even harder for low income pregnant women to have their needs met.
"The families rely on us and sometimes we're they're only contact," said Brown.
BPPN primarily provides support to families on Buffalo's east and west sides where statistics show the poorest birth outcomes. They are the same neighborhoods that have seen some the highest numbers of coronavirus cases, which only highlights growing health inequity.
"They live in pockets of the city that are deserts in lots of ways, for resources, for food, for housing. And that's all been exacerbated by COVID," said BPPN Board Member and Program Chair, Whitney Mendel, PhD. "If you already didn't have what you needed before and then you're told to lock down in place, what do you do? What about transportation? Is it safe to get on a bus to get from point A to point B. Do you go to your doctor's appointments? So it's just sort of highlighted, if not worsened those same circumstances."
Buffalo Prenatal's annual fundraiser "Great Baby Beginnings" will be held virtually on Wednesday, July 15, from 6:30 to 7:30 pm., with great prizes and auction items. Daybreak anchor Melissa Holmes is proud to be the Mistress of Ceremonies. Buying a ticket starting at $25 allows access to online presentations, raffles and auctions, in which the bidding starts Monday, July 13.
The organization is also in need of donations of diapers, wipes, food and books.
More information about how to donate and about "Great Baby Beginnings" can be found by clicking here.
RELATED: Cazenovia Park splash pad reopens