MASON COUNTY — Mason County Baby Pantry is a fairly new operation, but has grown significantly since its beginnings this past April.
Its founder, Bree Ramey, works as a family support worker through Mountain State Healthy Families. Through her job, Ramey became aware that many Mason County families have difficulty providing basic needs for their infants and young children.
“After we talked to the Early Childhood team here in Mason, it became really apparent that a lot of families need cribs and baby food and other supplies,” Ramey said.
Ramey arranged with the city of Gallipolis to have the baby pantry at the Point Pleasant youth center, while Greg Fowler of the Family Resource Network provided storage space for donations.
“Once we had that set up, I went around to area churches and various other ways to solicit donations. Several churches have sponsored us.”
Ramey said she is working on getting some private funding as well, and the organization Unicare has recently donated 35 carseats.
The pantry provides emergency diapers, wipes, baby food, baby cereal, formula, baby shampoo, baby bath, and baby lotion, gently used clothing. When larger items are needed, such as cribs and carseats, families are qualified through a system of agencies to make sure that these items are provided to those who need them most.
Some of those whom the pantry has helped have returned the items after they are no longer needed.
The baby pantry is always open from 1-3 p.m. on the fourth Monday of every month at the Point Pleasant youth center, and provides help for around 30-40 families each month. It will be open next on Monday, August 26, and those who feel they might benefit from its supplies will just need to fill out some paperwork with information on the family and provide documentation that the household includes a young child.
“All they have to do is be a resident of Mason County and have a child in need who is in the zero to three age range.”
Ramey added that the pantry has begun to accumulate furniture and other supplies for families with older children.
“It’s gone beyond a baby pantry at this point.”
Ramey said that volunteers are always needed. A donation drive will begin in October, at which point representatives will set up at Dollar General stores in Point Pleasant, New Haven, and Ashton.
Those who would like more information about the Mason County baby pantry may contact Ramey at Mountain State Healthy Families. Her phone number is (304) 857-0020. Mountain State Healthy Families is also a drop-off point for donations; its address is 502 Main St., Point Pleasant.