The volunteer founder and president of the Berkshire Baby Box program has passed off her successful new-parent outreach program to Community Health Programs, as of Jan. 1. The transition comes after distribution of more than 1,000 baby boxes to Berkshire families over the past five years.

Founder Hinda Bodinger says Berkshire Baby Box’s education program, including distribution of safe-sleep baby boxes for infants, has outgrown its volunteer beginnings. Bodinger’s wish is for the program to have an administrative home with more robust family resources.

CHP’s Family Services team has been a steady partner of Berkshire Baby Box and was the obvious choice. The program is changing hands with a full supply of safe sleep boxes for babies and infant supplies. Even during COVID-19, the program has carried on virtually.

Bodinger made the following statement:

This is an exciting growth step for Berkshire Baby Box. With CHP taking over this all-county initiative, we can realize our vision that Berkshire Baby Boxes would become an anticipated and treasured rite of passage for new families in the Berkshires. CHP can also offer additional pathways to more services for expectant parents.

Inspired by a family support movement with its roots in Finland, Berkshire Baby Box tackles the challenges of rural health care, the unique needs of immigrant and low-income families and raises awareness of infant sleep safety. One important note, though, is that Berkshire Baby Box and its programs are available to all new moms and babies in the county, regardless of their income.

Director of CHP Family Services, Michelle Derr had the following to say:

Under the best of circumstances, having a new baby can be a challenging and very often isolating experience, and especially during this pandemic, said Michelle Derr, director of CHP Family Services. We are so impressed with what Hinda has done to establish this great program for families around Berkshire County, and we are honored to take over going forward.

The Berkshire Baby Box transition is already under way, with programming and outreach efforts getting organized for 2021 with new parents.

For information, call CHP Family Services, (413) 528-0457.

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