Over 14 years ago, our board members were researching ways our chapter could support a local hospital. Grier Smokovich, our Philanthropic chair at the time, met with the women at Baltimore Washington Medical Center who ran their Stork’s Nest program to see if it was what we were looking for.
What is the Stork’s Nest?
Stork’s Nest at BWMC offers classes to expectant mothers about the importance of prenatal care, what to expect during labor and delivery, breastfeeding, basic infant care and safe sleeping.
Participants earn points by attending Stork’s Nest classes, going to their prenatal care appointments and adopting healthy behaviors. These points are used to shop at the Stork’s Nest store, where women can “purchase” a variety of infant care items including clothing, diapers and car seats.
Any pregnant woman in our county is eligible to participate, but the program’s emphasis is on engaging pregnant women who do not receive regular prenatal care and have a higher risk for having a low-birth-weight baby or premature birth.
How a Holiday Gift Exchange Became a Baby Shower
Once we agreed to support the Stork’s Nest, we realized we could incorporate it into our regular December meeting. At that meeting we traditionally had a gift exchange, and so we simply asked members to instead donate baby items that could be passed on to the Stork’s Nest.
The first chair of the shower was the late Joan Hechler. Thanks to our members’ generosity, the Hechler’s dining room overflowed with donations!
Ever since that first Baby Shower, our members have donated tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of essential baby items to the Stork’s Nest. In 2017 BMWC acknowledged our long-term support with an engraved plaque on their giving wall.
As we celebrate 15 years as a chapter (plus our six years as a guild) of National Assistance League, we are proud of our contributions to the health of new babies and mothers in our community.