Nashville nonprofit organization Strick’s Gift is in its fifth year of donating more than 18,000 pieces of clothing to underprivileged newborns in the area, a feat only possible with the growing support of the Nashville community.
According to the U.S. Census, 26.6% of children under the age of 18 in Davidson County live below the poverty level. That is one in every four children (American Community Survey, 2006-08). It’s a sad reality that many children are born to families who simply are unable to afford necessary items such as clothing and blankets. Strick’s Gift aims to fill this gap by providing clothing to newborns in need in Davidson County.
“The need is great, and Strick’s Gift is hoping to expand its reach and beneficiaries,” said Lena Levendoski, founder/CEO of Strick’s Gift. “The community has been very generous. Nashville is clothing these children, and we hope that with their help, we can continue to do it again and again, beginning this holiday season.
Strick’s Gift partners with area hospitals in the Nashville community, including Baptist Hospital, Monroe Carell, Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt’s newborn nursery and Nashville General Hospital at Meharry and delivers carefully crafted gift bags filled with at least seven days’ worth of clothing for each newborn. A card is attached to each bag with well wishes from “one angel to another.” The gift is brought directly to the baby in need from hospital nurses just hours after he or she is born.
“Strick’s Gift without a doubt has been a blessing to not only our mothers and babies, but also to their families. The look of excitement, relief and tears of joy are often a few of the expressions that I receive when sharing these amazing gifts. Being able to provide a patient with a gift bag warms my heart and makes my job a little easier. It also means that families can truly celebrate this occasion. We appreciate so much Strick Gift’s continued mission to pay it forward to our families in need,” said Kimberly Calhoun, a social worker with one of the affiliated hospitals.
Strick’s Gift was founded in 2008 by Lena Levendoski and her husband Geoff to honor the memory of their son Strick, who died in the womb with no explanation or warning when Levendoski was 36 weeks pregnant. Since then, Lena and Geoff continue to give back and inspire others with Strick’s Gift, celebrating those babies who make it into the world safely but need a little helping hand. Levendoski believes every child is a miracle and should be celebrated, even if the family does not have the means to do that.
This holiday season, the Nashville community has yet another opportunity to make an impact on the lives of newborns.
Nashvillians can support this initiative by donating used and new infant clothing (sizes 0-12 months), baby blankets, hats, socks, bibs and burp cloths. There are two drop off locations, one located at Tweed Baby Outfitters (1200 Villa Place #110, Nashville, Tenn. 37212) and a second at Westminster Presbyterian Church (3900 West End Avenue, Nashville Tenn. 37205). Clothing donations can also be mailed or picked up by e-mailing <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Monetary donations are also welcomed. Donations of $10-$20 will receive a holiday card with the details of how the money was spent. Donations of $100 will sponsor one entire bag. Volunteers are also needed to help package gift bags and spread the word about Strick’s Gift.
For more information follow Strick’s Gift on <Facebook.com/Stricksgift> or visit the website at <www.stricksgift.org/>.