You can't spoil a baby

Pay It Forward
Amanda Soloway
Amanda Soloway
Manager, Marketing, Payworks

With my second maternity leave rapidly approaching, I was excited to take the opportunity of using my Pay it Forward Day to support an organization that really resonates with me.

You Can’t Spoil a Baby has connected expectant Manitoba families in need to donors since November 2011. Through the organization, families in need apply online, and after about a six-month wait, a customized gift of baby clothes in sizes up to 18 months, a “wish list” item, and other items to help with the new baby’s first year of life are delivered to the family.

The You Can’t Spoil a Baby program is 100% volunteer operated and no one at YCSAB earns an income. It is non-partisan, secular, and is rooted in strength-based social work practice. It also offers donors with a unique alternative for what to do with their once loved baby items and contributes to the idea that “parenting takes a village.”

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After having my first child, I became acutely aware of just how privileged I am. It breaks my heart to think that there are so many families in Manitoba (at present there are 309 families awaiting gifts and 2,235 that have received gifts since the program’s inception) that are struggling to provide their children with the things that I have taken for granted.

I decided that in my last few weeks before I go on leave, I would participate in the YCSAB Make One Gift casual volunteer position. After applying to participate in with the program, I was connected with a family and received their wish list items. I went through the items that I had already collected for my own baby (many of which were generously donated to me by friends) to find things that were appropriate, and I reached out to the people in my community to see if they had anything to contribute. I was overwhelmed by the response.

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Through the generosity of my community members and friends, I was able to provide this family with a gift that included a stroller, two playpens, a year’s worth of clothing, diapers and a change pad, and a multitude of toys for both the new baby girl and for this family’s 19-month old son. It was remarkable to see how many people I know and don’t know step up to donate their items – their generosity is a beautiful thing. I spent my Pay it Forward Day doing some shopping to complete the gift, washing and drying the clothing, sorting and packaging everything, and then delivering the gift.

People are still reaching out to me with donations as well, so in a few months I intend on putting together a second (and possibly third) gift for other families. I am grateful to Payworks for giving me the opportunity to take the time to put toward my somewhat unconventional Pay it Forward Day and for opening the door to what I believe will be a long-lasting volunteer engagement for me.

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