When a new baby is on its way, a Family can expect a sea of formula, mounds of diapers and the overabundance of necessary accessories. That’s when, for Fort Bragg Families, that angel on your shoulder will come in handy.
Angels for Babies is a non-profit organization that works behind the scenes to help military Families who meet certain criteria with essential items for their newborns. The organization gives away gently used car seats, strollers, cribs, diapers, wipes, clothing and other baby items.
Shanda Caruso and Christy Benoit-Hoyt, both military spouses, began the non-profit organization in November 2011 after noticing Families asking for help on other websites.
“A couple of ladies kept posting ads on yard sale sites asking for odds (and ends) and we got together and started helping these people find what they needed,” said Shanda Caruso, co-founder of Angels for Babies. “Christy and I decided to make a page and started taking donations for people who needed stuff,” said Caruso.
“I think it’s excellent what they are doing and I wish they could get more help,” said Melissa Arurang, military spouse.
Angels for Babies was established on the premise of “Moms helping Moms” and their primary goal is to aid individuals and Family members in need, by using their website to bridge between prospective donors and those in need.
“A lot of people will say ‘thank you’ for what you do, but it’s not me, it’s a group, a team effort,” said Caruso. “If it wasn’t for everyone who donates in that group, we wouldn’t have a group.”
“I hope the group will definitely get bigger and more people will donate instead of throwing items out in the trash,” said Caruso.
“I would like to see the group grow bigger with more donations coming in,” said Arurang. “Maybe we can start making a ‘baby shower in a box’ with essential items for newborns.”
Currently, Angels for Babies is solely for military Families in the Fort Bragg area.
“The vision would be for all military installations to have a similar program for their military Families,” said Caruso. “I would like to see someone start a non-profit group in all states for military Families.”
Military members have to deal with frequent deployments, along with financial responsibilities, which can cause a tremendous amount of stress on Families. Angels for Babies helps take some of the pressure off Families so that they can concentrate on what matters most.
“A lot of people have the misconception that military Families have it made,” said Caruso. “If I, or anybody else on that site, can help their lives be less stressful, I would like to be able to help.”
“It’s kind of like a giving tree where everyone goes down the line and gives,” said Caruso. “We give to you and then you turn around and give it to someone else when you can.” Angels for Babies on Facebook.