Somerset, NJ (PRWEB) September 07, 2017
Miriam’s Heart, a Somerset county based nonprofit supporting foster and adoptive families throughout Central New Jersey, has launched a diaper bag drive to collect much needed supplies for some of the Garden State’s most vulnerable children in foster care. “The numbers are truly staggering and unfortunately I am seeing a trend of younger and younger children coming into care,” said Miriam’s Heart Co-Founder and President, Elizabeth Occhipinti. “The State has over 7000 children in foster care, with over 100 in placement in foster [resource] families in Somerset County alone. We are here to come alongside those families to stand in the gap for these kiddos by providing families with the essential supplies they need when a child is brought to their door,” Occhipinti explained.
Last year, Miriam’s Heart collected and donated over 200 backpacks stuffed with overnight and school supplies for New Jersey’s children and teens. Resource families receive children with little time to plan. This year, Miriam’s Heart will focus on the needs of New Jersey’s youngest children. “Infants and toddlers in particular, are often placed into families with little more than the clothes on their backs,” Occhipinti says. While each child being served by New Jersey Child Protection and Permanency (CP&P) has multiple supports that engage to help families, it is often because of timing, that assistance doesn’t come until a few days after late-night or weekend placements. This leaves foster families scrambling for essentials like formula, bottles, diapers and clothing.
The goal of this initiative is to raise $3500 to purchase at least 200 diaper bags, each of which will be filled with donated supplies. Miriam’s Heart has partnered with several area churches to collect items that will fill each bag.
The impact of having these tangible supplies on hand is felt over and over by local foster parents like Suzanne S., who has already received two infants. “Miriam's Heart helps keep the calm in what can sometimes be a very crazy few days after placement of a foster child. If it wasn't for the network of support behind Miriam's Heart I am not sure my husband and I could do what we do,” Singer said.
As a completely volunteer-run organization, Miriam’s Heart is launching the diaper bag drive as a part of the Stand Sunday initiative, a day that focuses the American church to stand for children in foster care. "Miriam’s Heart has expanded the reach of the Orphan Sunday initiative into the Northeast and beyond, and we are excited about this new expression called Stand Sunday. Elizabeth Occhipinti serves on our leadership team as a liaison for foster care and the Northeast region. Her passion for kids in foster care, as well as the vision of others, led to the development of Stand Sunday as an opportunity for the American church to turn toward our own waiting children, “ says Jodi Jackson Tucker the International Director of Orphan Sunday. Miriam’s Heart values their partnership with many organizations including the New Jersey CP&P. “The partnership that we share with Miriam's Heart has been extremely beneficial to both the families and the children that we each serve. Working and teaming together for the greater good is truly what matters,” said Kristi Zeigler-Dawicki, of New Jersey CP&P. “The need for foster and adoptive families is not going away any time soon and anytime we can work with organization who supports our foster families and children like Miriam's Heart does, we feel truly grateful,” Zeigler-Dawicki stated.
The Diaper Bag Drive will run through Friday, October 20, 2017. All the information about the Diaper Bag Drive including bag sponsorship, a list of the items needed, drop off locations is listed under “Diaper Bags” on the Miriam’s Heart website, miriamsheart.org
Questions and media inquiries should be directed to Jennifer Taylor, Board of Directors, Miriam’s Heart. info(at)miriamsheart(dot)org or 908.801.6183.