It started more than a decade ago with volunteers collecting a couple dozen teddy bears for babies born in Sussex County hospitals during the holidays.
Today, Kody’s Kids assists more than 300 at-risk babies annually in Sussex and parts of Kent County.
“Back when we began in 2001, we started realizing the newborn population was somewhat underserved,” says Philip W. Brown, the nonprofit’s founder and president. “We’ve seen everyday families where the job went and they live in a van or a homeless shelter. They got into desperate situations and they finally reach out for help.
“Even if they signed up for (social) services, there is a week’s gap before those services kicked in.”
So Kody’s Kids added a baby closet program to collect and distribute clothing and other baby supplies. It also created an early learning education program for preschoolers.
“We give them what they need to get started,” Brown says.
Kody’s Kids (Kody is its bear mascot) works with 12 agencies, including the Delaware Department of Health, Children and Families First, and La Red Health Center in Georgetown, as well as hospitals in Sussex County.
Along with volunteers, Kody’s Kids accepts donations of diapers, wipes, baby bottles, pacifiers and other accessories.