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2003 News from Mecklenburg County

September 26, 2003


Charlotte, NC -- The county government department mandated to safeguard children has partnered with a community agency that helps those in crisis and is seeking donations of money, new cribs, or used cribs in good condition. Organizers say the donations could save a baby's life.

Unsafe sleeping arrangements are the number one cause of fatal injuries in infants in Mecklenburg County, according to the 2002 Annual Report of the Mecklenburg County Community Child Fatality Prevention and Protection Team.

The crib initiative of the Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services (DSS) and Crisis Assistance Ministry (CAM) is an effort to provide parents or guardians in need with adequate and safe sleeping furniture for a child.

The idea was prompted by requests for cribs -- particularly the smaller, portable ones with mesh sides such as the Pack 'N Play -- from new mothers who cannot afford them, said DSS Client Representative Wanda Harward. She and workers in the DSS Community Resources Office (CRO) decided to partner with CAM because the organization has a furniture and appliance ministry.

The cribs will go to new mothers, homeless families, families who've recently found a place to live -- usually a small apartment where a portable crib fits better -- and others who have a low income. CRO receives referrals from social workers, the Mecklenburg County Health Department, hospital emergency rooms, and about 35 other agencies, said Polly Needham, administrator for CRO.

For additional details, call Geri Walton with CRO at 704-336-4809, or e-mail her at Here's how you can help Mecklenburg DSS and CAM:

· Donate money to purchase cribs: Make checks payable to "Mecklenburg County," and write "cribs" in the memo line. Mail or bring the check to Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services, Attn: Community Resources Office, 301 Billingsley Road, Charlotte, NC 28211. Cash donations are accepted, too.

· Donate new or used cribs to Crisis Assistance Ministry at 500 Spratt Street, Charlotte, NC. For details, contact the Furniture and Appliance Ministry at 704-371-3000, ext. 125. Because of safety issues, only cribs that have all of the necessary parts and documentation to show the make, model, and age of the crib can be accepted.

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