Des Plaines Corps Celebrates Ten Years of Breakfast with Baby

Oct 22, 2021

In 2015, Shellie was starting over. She had recently left an abusive relationship and was living with her kids – ages 10 years, 6 years, and 2 months – in a one-bedroom apartment, struggling to make ends meet.

So when someone from The Salvation Army Des Plaines Corps Community Center handed her a flyer for their Breakfast with Baby program in the middle of a 4th of July parade, she was willing to give it a try. A program offering support and free baby supplies sounded perfect.

Little did she know then that six years later, she would be a volunteer with the group – and that, on a sunny Saturday in October, they would be celebrating the ten-year anniversary of the Des Plaines Breakfast with Baby program with a special lunch, stroller decorating contest, and parade.

Diapers or Food?

During the past decade, the Des Plaines Breakfast with Baby program has supported hundreds of northwest suburban families in need with fellowship as well as free diapers and baby supplies donated by the community. The monthly gathering, open to moms at least seven months pregnant to those with a baby under a year old, now serves as many as 110 families per month and gives away as many as 72,000 free diapers per year.

“One in three mothers will be faced with having to choose between spending money on diapers or food,” said Cheryl Hagedorn, Director of the Breakfast with Baby program. “The choice is nearly always diapers. This is because there are very few places mothers can get free baby diapers.”

When Shellie was attending the group, she certainly appreciated this practical support. “The diapers and the gently used clothes were huge. A really big thing for me,” she said. “It was nice to just have somebody that understood your situation.”

Emotional and Spiritual Support

Prior to the pandemic, Breakfast with Baby met at the Des Plaines corps on the second Saturday of the month. Volunteers served breakfast, then the children had a chance to play, take part in crafts, and read Bible stories. The men gathered for conversation and the women were able to pick out the diapers and supplies they need. Since the pandemic, Breakfast with Baby has been operating in a drive-through format.

Hagedorn said fellowship is a big part of the program. “We are grateful to be able to provide material help, but more importantly, we can reach out and offer emotional and spiritual support,” she said.

Major Victor Stasiuc, one of the officers at the Des Plaines corps, said, “Our leaders and volunteers are building close to family relationships with our clients, helping them not only during the program but daily. Answering questions, motivating, and of course praying for the needs.”

Today, Shellie tells new moms about the help available at Breakfast with Baby, speaking from firsthand experience. “Emotionally, mentally, the people were super caring. They wanted to help any way they could. They would take the time to just listen to you,” she said. “I wanted to better my life, and it absolutely started with the Breakfast with Baby program.”

To learn more about Breakfast with Baby, make a monetary donation, or donate items (diapers, baby wipes, toys, or other supplies), call 847.981.9111 or visit www.salarmydesplaines.org.


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