Beds and Britches, Etc. (B.A.B.E.)
Since 1992, the Beds and Britches, Etc. (B.A.B.E.) program has offered incentives to expectant mothers and parents to promote responsible parenting. Encouraging responsibility and improving self-esteem, the program provides goods and services that new parents need to nurture healthy babies and foster skills that will help the family through life.
B.A.B.E., a unique "store" offering new and used baby clothing and equipment, emerged from the work of a multitude of community members and organizations. It is a comprehensive "incentive" program that provides tangible incentives encouraging families to nurture healthy babies and children. The program works as follows: Parents and parents to be earn B.A.B.E. coupons by keeping prenatal appointments, attending parenting classes, taking their child(ren) to get immunized and a number of other activities that improve family health and child development.
B.A.B.E. coupons are offered by more than 45 coupon distributors throughout St. Joseph County. Physicians, clinics and other social service vendors distribute the coupons to clients who can redeem them at B.A.B.E. stores for merchandise ranging from baby formula to cribs. The important part of this exchange is that customers come to the store with something they have earned – coupons – and leave with something they are able to provide for their child – a brand new stroller, diapers or a handmade blanket.
"Being able to come here and get something you need for all that work you do when you have a baby makes you feel like you have something to show for it all. I really like it," said one B.A.B.E. shopper and mother of two said.
B.A.B.E. program goals
- To increase awareness and utilization of maternal, child and social services, which may assist in achieving optimum pregnancy outcomes and child health
- To promote pride, dignity and self-esteem
- To encourage personal responsibility
- To leverage community support
As a result of the B.A.B.E. program, more people are taking a parenting and/or nutrition class, working toward their GED, attending breastfeeding support groups and establishing goals with a self-sufficiency case manager. Parents are also more likely to participate in other programs that improve the health and well-being of their entire family.
In order to keep this important community resource available, B.A.B.E. continues to rely on the support of individuals and organizations in our area. Donations, new and "like new" (gently used) are always cheerfully accepted and much appreciated.
325 N. Lafayette Blvd.
201 Lincoln Way West