Diapers, wipes delivered to hundreds during stay-at-home orders

Kaylah Dessausure likes to say that it takes a village to raise a child, and for herself and two young boys, ages three years and two months, that village has been New Directions Early Head Start (NDEHS) at the University of Delaware.

Housed in UD’s College of Education and Human Development, NDEHS is a federally funded program that provides quality care and support services for nearly 200 pregnant women, infants and toddlers in New Castle and Kent counties. During normal times, the program operates in three childcare centers — one at UD in Newark and two in Wilmington — while also conducting weekly home visits and programs for new or expectant mothers. The program has been a vital support system for the Dessausures as their family has grown.

“As a first-time mom, this program made my journey so much easier, in spite of all the challenges,” said Dessausure. “For individuals like me, who don’t really have a solid support system in your family, this program is your support system, your family. It’s whatever you need it to be.”

However, ever since the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic prompted nation-wide stay-at-home orders, that support system has become a lifeline for many NDEHS families. The diapers, wipes and formula that had once been provided at no extra charge by NDEHS childcare facilities would have cost families hundreds of extra dollars each month, even as jobs were evaporating by the millions.

Determined to provide families with adequate support to sustain themselves during this global health crisis, NDEHS scrambled to bring their programs online while also shipping hundreds of boxes of diapers and baby wipes to families in need.

“What’s changed with COVID is that we’re trying to stay connected with families and children, and support them, without being able to be with them directly in their homes or in childcare centers,” said Heidi Beck, director of NDEHS. “In addition to material support, like diapers and wipes, we’re also providing educational support for parents who are now responsible schooling their children.”

Read the full article in UDaily