Infant Crisis Services provides a lifeline for struggling families with new babies 

In 2009, Infant Crisis Services provided 403,812 diapers and 144,826 bottles to babies in need. With a record number of more than 11,900 babies assisted last year, the organization expects that 2010 will bring an increase of families in crisis.

The organization reports that families arrive with babies draped in blankets instead of diapers, and bottles void of baby formula.

"We are the safety net for families," said Miki Farris, executive director and a founder of the nonprofit. The organization, which moved to a new facility in February 2009, saw an increase of 12 percent in clients served over the previous year. However, final reporting numbers revealed an even larger number of clients served.

"Twelve percent doesn't even tell the whole story," said Jo Lynne Jones, director of operations. "We are actually up 23 percent."

Farris said the economy and an increase in the cost of baby formula has led to an increase in clients needing assistance. She said the three labs that make baby formula quit producing the least expensive kind, making providers nationwide switch to a higher-priced formula, causing families on the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children to run out of formula before their next allotment.

Even with the increased pressures, Infant Crisis Services remains focused on the babies.
"The beautiful thing is that the client for us is the baby," Farris said. "That's what we keep our eye on."

Infant Crisis Services, which does not receive state or federal funds, is fully funded by private donations and grants. The organization praises its strong ties with corporate sponsors, dedicated volunteers and the community.

But, because of the current economic situation, the organization seeks donations and volunteers.
Volunteer duties include interviewing clients, attending the waiting room, stocking shelves, making diaper packs and administrative tasks. Each child seen by Infant Crisis Services is provided the essentials four times during the baby's first 48 months.

Farris reports the basics for a baby are $100 per month for diapers; $30 per month for formula; and $22,000 to raise a baby for the first year.

"For every $1 invested in the early years of a baby," Farris said, "there is a $7 to $17 return on investment."

Infant Crisis Services began in 1984 as a Sunday school project. In 1991, it became a nonprofit organization. Currently, it helps 1,000 babies each month.

The organization is in need of diapers and formula as well as cash donations. It always welcomes new or slightly used clean clothing, sizes 0 to 4, and toys and books.

Infant Crisis Services is also registered at Target, Walmart and Babies R Us; enter the first name as Infant and last name as Crisis to view some of the most needed items.

For more information, call 528-3663 or visit www.infantcrisis.org.

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