Lots of women and children benefit from Brooks House, the Lebanon shelter for women and children in crisis. Some of the people who need that help the most are babies.
Women come to Brooks House to find a safe place for themselves and their children while they get back on their feet and try to change their lives for the better. Brooks House Director Liz Resse has her hands full keeping all her charges fed and clothed, but keeping up with the needs of all the babies and toddlers who need help pushes the home's finances to the limit.
In an effort to make sure these babies have some of the things they need, the Wilson County Sheriff's Department is rallying to the cause. On April 27 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., the public can bring much-needed baby items to the WCSD parking lot to be distributed to Brooks House babies.
Lt. Crystal Corn approached Sheriff Robert Bryan about the department taking on a project to help the community. When it comes to worthy charities in Wilson County, Brooks House immediately came to mind.
"She approached me about doing something for a charitable organization," Bryan said. "We met with Liz at Brooks House, and she said, 'I'm all in.' It's a good place to be."
Bryan said the sheriff's department is a central part of the community, which leaves it in a position to reach a lot of people.
"The sheriff's department's responsibilities are not only in law enforcement, but being involved in the community," he said, adding his department has formed a public relations committee, and the baby drive for Brooks House is just the first of many projects.
"The more of my employees who are involved, the more open communication we have with the community," Bryan said.
Reese is, as always, grateful for the help. She said she feels responsible for making sure babies at Brooks House, or the babies of other moms she is working with, have the basic necessities.
"Today, we have 60 diapers at Brooks House," Reese said. "We also have four babies at the house and six more with their mothers in local motels."
It doesn't take much to figure out the diapers will fall short. As any mom will say, the one thing one never wants to run out of is diapers.
"In the midnight hour when you're a mom who only has $3 and needs diapers; you're stuck," Reese said. "We do that – we make sure that mom has diapers. In the last year we went through 1,000 packages of diapers and pull-ups. It's a need we always keep. We need diapers and pull-ups in all sizes, because I never know what size baby I'm getting."
But Brooks House babies need other items, as well.
The shelter's wish list of baby items includes diapers of all sizes from newborn to pull-ups, formula, bottles, baby shampoo and lotion, diaper wipes, baby food, cereal and toddler snacks. Reese said the house has enough baby equipment, but it's the items that get used up that are always in demand.
"We want to build her supplies up," Bryan said.
To make donating as simple as possible the WCSD will be setting up a "drive through" donation station in the department's parking lot.
"There will be volunteers in the parking lot to help get the stuff," Corn said. "It will be drive in and drive out."
Reese is thrilled to have the help.
"It is so needed," she said.