Giving Tuesday may be in the past, but after it spurred a widely successful charity effort at Jewish Family and Children’s Services, the organization is keeping the fundraising open to continue raising money for young parents in need.
JF&CS’s virtual baby shower, a campaign to raise money to help parents purchase diapers or wipes, get transportation to pediatrician visits or attend parenting classes, launched Tuesday with the hope of inviting the giving spirit into a season typically known for consumerism.
The virtual baby shower soared past its fundraising goal, the organization said. Initially hoping to raise $15,000 for at-need parents, JF&CS has instead raised almost $20,000.
The money will help more than 150 families involved with the JF&CS Center for Early Relationship Support, Karen Silverman, the group’s chief marketing officer said. Those families will find support in buying essentials, such as food and baby gear, paying for utilities or rent in emergency situations, and accessing parenting courses and therapeutic services.
The fundraising campaign will stay open through the end of this week, Silverman said. But though the virtual baby shower was specifically timed for Giving Tuesday, JF&CS’ charity efforts aim to help wide swaths of people suffering from various other issues — addiction, mental health, special needs, mourning — throughout the year.
The virtual baby shower carried a special meaning for Gail Schulman, JF&CS’ chief executive. Before she ran a major charitable organization, she was the young mother of twins born more than two months premature.
Through JF&CS services, Schulman was supported by another mother who arrived each week for a year to check on her, her husband and their newborns.
“There have not been very many times in my life when I’ve been in a position of needing help,” Schulman said. “When I was, JF&CS was the organization that was there for me.”
Hundreds of families are now assisted by the Center for Early Relationship Support, just as Schulman once was.
“I was an English speaking, college educated, middle class woman with a husband struggling to support two premature babies,” Schulman said. But she knows not every parent can say the same of themselves.
“How much more struggle is there if your baby has been exposed to substance?” she asked. “If you have been exposed to trauma? If you have a baby who is even more fragile and even more premature than mine were. There are so many needs there.”