Overcoming Persistent Poverty
Lindsay Gray, Bundles of Hope
“The Community Foundation is willing to invest in projects that will have a lasting effect on our area, I think that is a testament to what they’re trying to accomplish in the long term.”
Bundles of Hope Diaper Bank
You might not think something as simple as a baby’s diaper could affect your chances at getting a good, stable job, but it can. That’s because most daycare facilities won’t accept a child unless the parent can provide diapers. And for a family living in poverty, this small thing might mean the difference between going to work or school and having to stay home with the child, especially in Birmingham where more than 40% of households headed by females live below the poverty limit.
Enter Bundles of Hope, a Birmingham nonprofit dedicated to providing basic need items like diapers, wipes, and period products to families who need them in many ways, including through a mobile distribution program in partnership with Live HealthSmart Alabama, UAB’s Minority Health and Health Disparities Center.
“The thing that really excites me is that the Community Foundation focuses on eliminating barriers so we can serve more and more families,” says Lindsay Gray, Bundles of Hope’s executive director. “When you cut back on those barriers, that’s more than serving families, right? Our mobile unit is driving these resources straight into where families are – into their neighborhoods and their homes – and taking it right to them.”
The mobile distribution program unit, that was supported by a $20,000 grant from the Community Foundation, not only delivers products and picks up donations, it serves as a rolling advertisement for the service. “We just love driving the mobile unit because it not only serves the community, but it also lets them know we’re a resource,” she says. “There are a lot of wonderful resources in Birmingham, but a lot of times families just don’t know they exist. So being present in the community with our trailer that has our logo, and everything wrapped around it is really eye catching.” Gray says that seeing the mobile unit often prompts people to seek out their agency or one of their 65 partner organizations. Additionally, the mobile unit alerts other communities to a need that they might not previously have been aware of.
Gray says that it’s a testament to her organization and others that the Community Foundation is willing to invest in projects and equipment that will have a lasting effect on the Greater Birmingham area for years to come. “I think it is a testament to what they’re trying to accomplish long term,” she continues. “Year to year is one thing, but when you’re trying to really make community change over 10, 20 years, that’s a big challenge. They’re willing to have hard conversations and bring a lot of different ideas and perspectives to the table. As far as representation, I think that’s huge.”