“Gear to Grow” Provides Baby and Toddler Gear to Moms in Need

Stephanie Hoitt, Childrens Auxiliary Member, pictured in the basement of her home with Gear to Grow supplies

A new VNA Children’s Auxiliary initiative provides parents in need with essential equipment for their young children. Children’s Auxiliary member Stephanie Hoitt of Colts Neck is spearheading the “Gear to Grow” program, encouraging donations of new or gently used items that VNA patient families need — anything from strollers and baby carriers to educational books and toys. She personally stores and organizes the gear in her home, and often makes pickups of items she knows will benefit a young family.

In less than two years, Gear to Grow has become an important resource for VNA families. Stephanie communicates directly with staff at the VNA Children and Family Health Institute, and together they have created a steady and efficient system for identifying and supplying items that are needed. Earlier this year, for example, the VNA’s Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Food Nutrition Service program reached out to Stephanie to ask for a changing table to be used by mothers who attend nutrition education classes. Stephanie contacted her network, located a table and quickly delivered it to the WIC location in Perth Amboy. “We are so grateful for Gear to Grow, and for how the program adapts to the needs of our families,” said Colleen Nelson, Vice President of Clinical Operations for the VNA Children and Family Health Institute. “Gear to Grow has served over 70 families so far, and no request has been too big or too small.”

For more information about the VNA Children’s Auxiliary, or if you have new or lightly used baby gear that you would like to donate, please contact the VNA Foundation Office at 732.224.6780.

This story first appeared in VNA’s House Calls Newsletter. Click here to download the issue or fill out the form on the right to be added to our distribution list.

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