Written by Will Munton, Charity Manager, Leeds Baby Bank
As I return to work after two generous weeks of paternity leave, I’m grateful to the team at Leeds Baby Bank. Not only grateful for the two special weeks getting to know our third child, Jessica Grace, I’m also grateful for the team that thrived in new ways of working, but most of all, grateful to have the essentials I need for our baby.
My family are fortunate to not worry about running out of baby wipes, about that pack of nappies that’s now below the half way mark, or baby Jessica sleeping in the Moses basket we got handed from our friends.
Whilst this was joyful time for our family, working at a Leeds Baby Bank pushed me to think how it must be find yourself expecting a child, or with a newborn in a situation where you have nothing.
We speak to families on a daily basis, and the phrase comes up too often. A phrase that hit home so many times throughout my leave; ‘we don’t have anything and I don’t know what we need, please help us’.
Families in our city of Leeds, right on our doorstep, are struggling. We hear it daily. Families that should be excited, in wonder, in anticipation, nervous for the right reasons; but to a wide variety of issues we find them anxious, scared and without hope.
It’s a joy to help in this situation, to tell them we are going to help with everything they need, and often package them a bundle to last them 6 months, but, more often recently, I stop and think;
‘how long in the run up to the birth of their child; have they spent panicking about how they can provide the basics’
One family stands out, a horrendous house fire compounding their struggle. The pandemic meant they are already struggling financially, due to job losses were told all their belongings and soft furnishings, would have to be destroyed due to the smoke residue in the house.
Here is a family, previously working, providing, and moving through the challenges of parenting just like me and you; plunged in to crisis after an already tough year.
Life experiences have taught me, that if you are currently not facing an immediate crisis, be grateful, hold your loved ones close, but also be generous to those that need it. You never know when you’ll suddenly need the kindness of those nearby.
This August is a chance to do just that, a challenge that can help you get active, get sponsored for miles, and to help families struggling on your doorstep.
You can sign up and set an exercise target at leedsbabybank.org you can order a T-shirt and wear it with pride, showing the world you’re doing something to help.
After all, if you’re a lucky one like me, who can nip to the shops for the basics for your family; surely we can rack up some miles throughout the month in the process.
You can sign up for Miles for Smiles Leeds today: