It’s been 10 months since Anna Chebotar has seen her beloved Ukraine, and in the midst of fleeing the war-torn country, she said she wasn’t able prepare for little Aaron’s arrival.
Chebotar delivered the infant in Vancouver five weeks early after spending a month in Poland preparing visa documents, and three days in Toronto waiting for a flight with her eight-year-old daughter.
Her husband and parents haven’t been able to join them in Canada, and when she heard that a local charity, BabyGoRound, could help give Aaron the basics, she was relieved.
“We wrote what we need for Aaron and BabyGoRound gave to us all things, all clothes, all that we need. It’s amazing,” she told Global News. “They gave us support, it’s amazing.”
Vancouver’s BabyGoRound is a lifeline for many families in need, including newcomers. The charity provides essential baby items, including diapers, toys and equipment, in collaboration with 80 health and social service agencies in the Lower Mainland.
It’s in desperate need of donated baby goods, such as blankets, strollers, cribs and high chairs, according to marketing manager Alyssa Gibson. In the last three months, she said demand has increased 52 per cent — something the organization has never seen before.
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“We’re about a week away from running out of the supplies we need in order to meet the demand we’re seeing in January,” Gibson told Global News.
“A stroller, an infant carrier, a bouncy seat, an ExerSaucer, play mats — these are items that we’re critically short of and nearly every family requests.”
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Gibson said the increased cost of living may be driving the spike in demand. BabyGoRound has hired extra staff to book appointments for families, she added, and will open up on Dec. 30 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the hopes of receiving extra holiday donations.
“Moms are eight-and-a-half months pregnant and don’t know where they’re going to get these items,” she said.
“It’s heartbreaking, because we know the circumstances that they’re in that have brought them to the place of needing to ask for help.”
Donations can be dropped also be dropped off Jan. 6, 13, 23, and 28, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 2939 Kingsway. Clean, gently-used items are accepted. More information is available on BabyGoRound’s website.
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