Fridley elementary school packs baby boxes for families in need

Students at Stevenson Elementary School in Fridley assembled 630 Baby Boxes to be distributed across Minnesota on June 6.

The Minnesota-based nonprofit organization Babies Need Boxes equips families with the tangible resources required for a successful transition into parenthood.

Students at Stevenson Elementary School in Fridley assembled 630 Baby Boxes to be distributed across Minnesota on June 6. (Photo courtesy of Veronica Westerman)

Every year, Stevenson Elementary partners with a different non-profit organization to provide students with the opportunity to participate in community service activities. The school-wide service projects are designed to support people in need both locally and globally.

“We have kids that will need this resource and these events help educate them so they know that this is available for their families,” said International Baccalaureate Coordinator Veronica Westerman. “We had about 20 families pick up a box from the school.”

The baby boxes, made from durable cardboard and certified for safe sleep, can be used as the baby’s first bed for the first six months of their life. The boxes include a waterproof mattress, blanket, safe sleep literature, breastfeeding supplies and Pampers diapers. In addition, each box is filled with resources to promote postpartum maternal care and baby care.

Students at Stevenson Elementary School in Fridley wrote congratulatory cards for new mothers during the Baby Needs Boxes assembly on June 6. (Photo courtesy of Veronica Westerman)

“This was the biggest packing event for Babies Need Boxes,” said Westerman. “It was a great event and the kids made congratulations cards for each box, too. It was phenomenal and we are so happy to support this organization. Every kid should have the basics they need when they come into this world regardless of what their family has financially.”

Babies Need Boxes was founded in 2015 by Danielle Selassie of Fridley after she read about the positive impact that baby boxes had on Finland’s social equality and infant mortality.

The use of Baby Boxes has been credited with helping Finland achieve one of the world’s lowest infant mortality rates. According to the World Health Organization, the initiative, which enables expectant mothers to claim a free Baby Box once she receives prenatal care and parenting information, is responsible for decreasing Finland’s infant mortality rate from 65 deaths for each 1,000 children born in 1938 to 1.3 deaths per 1,000 births in 2013.

If you are interested in receiving or donating to Babies Need Boxes, please visit www.babiesneedboxes.org.

Next year, Stevenson Elementary is planning on partnering with Angel Foundation, a Twin Cities-based organization that provides emergency financial assistance, education and support to local families affected by cancer.

Contact Sam Lenhart at [email protected]