Earlier this week I had the opportunity to attend my first Moms2B meeting in the Hilltop, just a few blocks from where I live. It was fantastic. I didn't want to leave. I wanted to learn so much more!
If you're not familiar with Moms2B, go check out their site to learn all of the wonderful ways they're at work in our community. To summarize their mission though, they're helping mothers in the eight "hot spots" of Columbus, as they're called, to tackle the horrific issue we're facing with infant mortality and death of a child before their first birthday. Hot spots are the parts of town where infant mortality has been the highest in our city. Moms2B works with mothers giving them tools and education to make healthy choices for themselves and their babies and the group is truly making a big impact in our city as fewer babies are dying from those neighborhoods!
Each week members of the Moms2B team teach the same lesson at each of the eight areas around town where the meetings are offered. This week, the topic was safe sleep and safe food handling. Even thought I know about safe sleep practices, I actually learned a couple new things and to work through the lesson with a group offered new perspectives I hadn't otherwise considered. Heart-healthy snacks and a lunch are provided each week and for those who arrive to the group on time, a $5 Kroger gift card is given as incentive to be prompt, consistent and as a reward for the lessons they learn each week. Free condoms are always available and most weeks, someone from the staff will speak with each pregnant woman about safe sex, birth control, spacing out future pregnancies, etc. Sometimes there's been a donation of maternity or baby clothes that mothers are welcome to choose from and completion of the program is rewarded with a Pack-n-Play. Meetings are free of charge, childcare for other children is provided and assistance with rides to/from the meetings can be arranged. Any barriers that could stand in the way of a woman making it to these sessions has been considered to try and make it as accessible and rewarding as possible.
The only requirement for participation in the group is that you have to be pregnant. The youngest mother that Moms2B has helped was 12 and the oldest was close to 50. Women come from a range of backgrounds and might struggle with keeping a stable job, addiction, homelessness, mental health issues, past incarceration and/or prostitution to name just a few of the hurdles they face.
If you're curious about how you could help support this fantastic outreach in Columbus, some of their most consistent needs are sleep sacks and Pack-n-Play-sized sheets, as mothers often don't have access to a washer and dryer on a regular basis. These items are very inexpensive and can be found in most stores like Target, Walmart, Babies R Us, Buy Buy Baby and of course, Amazon. Sheets come in a two pack on Amazon for less than $12 and two sleep sacks are available for less than $17. I don't know about you, but I can totally find a few extra dollars to put towards the purchase of these simple items, especially if it helps contribute to the greater good of safe sleep practices and healthier outcomes for Central Ohio babies.
Please, check out the Moms2B site to learn more about all the ways they're engaged in the community and all the great work they're doing to help mothers and their babies!