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Representatives from the Baby Pantry decorated the yards of several community members during their Easter fundraiser. Decorative items included a note from the Easter Bunny, bunny prints, eggs and Easter story stones.

Over the weekend, representatives from the Baby Pantry, in partnership with Master’s Lamb Ministries, held an Easter fundraiser, decorating the yards of several community members and providing Easter cheer to several families. The proceeds from the event will go directly to the Baby Pantry, which relies on donations and grants.

Throughout the weeks leading up to Easter, the Baby Pantry and Master’s Lamb Ministries offered multiple packages from which community members could choose. Each package included a specified number of eggs based on the package size, along with a note from the Easter Bunny, bunny prints and Easter story stones. The staff of the Baby Pantry then decorated the yards on Easter weekend, and on Easter, children woke up to the surprise of the egg-filled yards and note from the Easter Bunny.

Rae Ann Barnett, RN, BSN, the assistant director of the Baby Pantry, said the event was a successful fundraiser, and the money will be used to purchase much needed items at the Baby Pantry.

“We made almost $500. I think we made $463 so that is really good because right now we need car seats and cribs,” said Barnett. The money from the fundraiser, in combination with a recently-received grant, will help the Baby Pantry tremendously, said Barnett.

The Baby Pantry, said Barnett, typically runs on donations from the community and other areas, as well as grants, however with so many non-profit organizations needing assistance, grant availability is often rare, she said.

“We just got a grant last week. It’s the first grant we’ve gotten in three years,” said Barnett. “Even before the pandemic, so many non-profits needed help.

“Getting this grant was really big for us right now,” Barnett said, stating that throughout the pandemic the Baby Pantry faced many challenges. The grant, she said, will allow the pantry to use the funding for operational purposes. “There were times last year where we didn’t know how we were going to pay our power bill. Like we had diapers to give out, but we didn’t have operational funds, which is what we’re going to be able to use that new grant for.”

Barnett said the Baby Pantry seeks grants, donations and assistance in every way they can, but the pandemic did impact their ability to find the help they needed. In addition to the lack of funding, Barnett said the Baby Pantry also saw an increase in the number of families being served within the community.

“During the pandemic there wasn’t any help that we could find for non-profits,” said Barnett. “It wasn’t there or wasn’t where we could access it, so it’s been hard. Not only that, but we had our regular clients and then we had 60 new clients come in within four months that’s never been to the Baby Pantry before. We just had an influx of people who had never needed assistance before but after they lost their jobs to the pandemic and babies were born during the pandemic. So we had all that going on and not much or very little help coming in.”

Throughout the pandemic and all the challenges, Barnett said, the Baby Pantry has continued to operate. The staff, she said, is considering hosting another fundraiser to provide story stones monthly in a subscription style.

If anyone is interested in donating to the Baby Pantry, they are always in need of new or gently used clothing, diapers, wipes, cribs, car seats, strollers, toys, bottles and other items that can be used by babies. The Baby Pantry is located behind New Hope Church in Gorman Hollow. Donations can be dropped off there, or you can contact Rae Ann Barnett by calling, (606) 233-4086, to set up a time to meet.