Wheelchair Helps a Family Financially and Emotionally
Recently we were contacted by a social worker at a local hospital. The worker was concerned about a young woman who has had numerous complications with Type 1 Diabetes throughout her life. In the past year, she had had more than a dozen emergency room visits and hospitalizations.
Completely dependent on her parents, this young woman had become depressed and withdrawn, and had stopped engaging with people. The family had to deal with the financial burden of the client's medical expenses as well as trying to manage her physical and mental health issues. The situation was extremely stressful for all of them.
Once the family received the news that we would be providing them with a transport wheelchair, they were thrilled. In fact, the social worker reported that the client actually began to interact socially. The family was very relieved and appreciative that we were able to ease their financial burden, and in a way that had a positive emotional impact as well. In their words, "the assistance we provided reduced their stress tremendously."
Summary of Services Provided by the BEST Program in 2015-2016
- With a budget of $98,000, 619 families with 1,178 children, were served through BEST between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016. These families are counted only once, when first referred, no matter how many times they make requests.
- Together, these 619 families made 1,959 requests for services, and we were able to fill 95% of these requests. The lowest fulfillment rate was for formula, where we met only 72% of requests; for all other supplies and referrals we came close to 100% of requests met.
- Diapers were most requested, by 527 families (we distributed over 63,000 diapers)
- 478 families received baby clothes
- 200 children received holiday gifts, provided by AEMT members and agencies who “adopted” the children
- 156 families were enrolled in NJ Family Care (health insurance)
- 145 parents attended our workshops on how to apply for family health insurance and nutrition programs.
- 140 received car seats
- Families saved a total of $67,500, with an average of $109 per family.
In the past five years, we have served over 3,350 families through BEST, ranging by year from 596 families (2013-2014) to 785 families (2011-2012).
Full details of our BEST accomplishments are described in our BEST Annual Report for 2015-2016.
Who the BEST Program Served in 2015-2016
Our client-families are predominantly headed by women, though almost 40% live in families with both parents present (because they are married or living together). Over 70% of our clients are Hispanic, with 54% of all parents speaking Spanish only, and 64% reside in New Brunswick; 29% in other Middlesex County communities (others come from beyond the County).
Parents' ages range from 12 year old mothers to grandmothers raising their children’s babies. However the younger parents are only in the single digits, while 70% are between 21 and 35 years old, with the largest proportion (28%) between 30 and 35 years old.
Families are referred to us very early in the babies' lives: 34% during the mother's pregnancy, another 39% within the first six months of birth. 45% of the 619 families had just one child; another 29% had two, and the last 26% had three or more. (We try to focus on new mothers with one child, but there are many others referred to us in great need.)
Almost 90% of the families earn less than $20,000, no matter what their family size. (According to a Middlesex County study, a single adult would need an income of over $26,500 to sustain a modest life. All our families have at least two people, mother and child.) Despite these meager incomes, over 31% of our clients do not have any public assistance. One of our targets is to improve health and nutrition, and by year's end 70% had some form of health insurance, and 56% had access to WIC or SNAP (Women, Infants and Children Federal Nutrition Program; Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.) This last, access to nutritional aid, was a troubling drop from the 71% of our clients who were able to enroll in it last year. Our application rate has not changed; the eligibility requirements have been raised.
This is a challenging time for our programs, as it is for many others serving those with very low incomes. Less funding is available, and it is harder to obtain. Our thanks to all who donate time, supplies, and funding to help these families most in need.
For complete information about our BEST clients, please see our BEST Annual Report for 2015-2016.
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AECDC diaper bank assists families in need
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This mom of two needs diapers for her children and on this day she’s getting them for free.
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