Whether it does or does not take a village to raise a child may still be up for discussion, however it is clear that parents raising a new-born child can certainly use some help and that is just what the Barton County Health Department will do with $1,200 is has received from the Golden Belt Community Foundation, Barton County Commissioners were told this week.
Health Department Registered Nurse Pam Stiles told the commissioners about the effort that continues, to make receiving blankets for newborns in the county, with the help of a number of county residents.
Stiles explained the grant money will be used to pay for materials for the receiving blankets, which are provided to new parents, along with the education about the safest way to lay a new-born down for sleep.
For about 18 years, Stiles noted, the department has utilized a lay person to provide the information to new parents and now it also utilizes nurse visits for “at risk” families. “We go into some homes that really need the information.”
It’s important for parents to learn about “safe sleep” habits, keeping newborns free from items that could choke them, keeping them from being too warm and taking other steps that are believed to help avoid Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
When those factors are ignored, the risks increase, she added. “They’ll get stressed and that is when something can happen.”
The department distributes about 300 blankets per year and at $4 per blanket, the grant should cover the raw materials for the year.
One local woman has been singled out for special thanks in the continuing effort, Stiles noted. Joyce Burnham has made 273 blankets for the program so far. “So she’s been a busy lady,” Stiles commented.
The project has also involved volunteers from Claflin and next fall the Great Bend High School sewing class will make blankets. “It’s been a really fun community project.”
The Claflin volunteers have also received $200 in funds from Midwest Energy to fund more blankets, Stiles added.
Also at this week’s commission meeting, there was an update on the use of Chronic Disease Risk Reduction funds for the development of Tradition Trail in Claflin.
Janel Rose told the commissioners that the Health Department partnered with Central Plains School District 112 and the Claflin Recreation Commission to develop the 1.12 mile walking path. It has become a popular community facility already, she added.