Miriam’s Heart launches Diaper Bag Drive to support New Jersey’s youngest children in foster care

Miriam’s Heart, a Somerset county based nonprofit supporting foster and adoptive families throughout Central New Jersey, has launched a diaper bag drive to collect much needed supplies for some of the Garden State’s most vulnerable children in foster care. “The numbers are truly staggering and unfortunately I am seeing a trend of younger and younger children coming into care,” said Miriam’s Heart Co-Founder and President, Elizabeth Occhipinti. “The State has over 7000 children in foster care, with over 100 in placement in foster [resource] families in Somerset County alone. We are here to come alongside those families to stand in the gap for these kiddos by providing families with the essential supplies they need when a child is brought to their door,” Occhipinti explained.

Last year, Miriam’s Heart collected and donated over 200 backpacks stuffed with overnight and school supplies for New Jersey’s children and teens. Resource families receive children with little time to plan. This year, Miriam’s Heart will focus on the needs of New Jersey’s youngest children. “Infants and toddlers in particular, are often placed into families with little more than the clothes on their backs,” Occhipinti says. While each child being served by New Jersey Child Protection and Permanency (CP&P) has multiple supports that engage to help families, it is often because of timing, that assistance doesn’t come until a few days after late-night or weekend placements. This leaves foster families scrambling for essentials like formula, bottles, diapers and clothing.

The goal of this initiative is to raise $3500 to purchase at least 200 diaper bags, each of which will be filled with donated supplies. Miriam’s Heart has partnered with several area churches to collect items that will fill each bag.

The impact of having these tangible supplies on hand is felt over and over by local foster parents like Suzanne S., who has already received two infants. “Miriam’s Heart helps keep the calm in what can sometimes be a very crazy few days after placement of a foster child. If it wasn’t for the network of support behind Miriam’s Heart I am not sure my husband and I could do what we do,” Singer said.

As a completely volunteer-run organization, Miriam’s Heart is launching the diaper bag drive as a part of…

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