My name is Sarah Allen and I am currently a Customer Account Manager (CAM) at PacMoore. Previous to PacMoore, I interned and worked for MHA NWI – Healthy Families for a combined span of 2 years. MHA NWI stands for Mental Health America of Northwest Indiana. MHA NWI will ALWAYS have a special place in my heart, as I know firsthand the dire need this community has for their services.
When talk at PacMoore came up recently of giving back to the community during Christmas, I immediately thought of running a toy drive for MHA NWI – Healthy Families. I know from my experience that Christmas is a time of both joy and uncertainty for many families. Each year Healthy Families hosts a Breakfast/Dinner with Santa, where Healthy Families provides a toy to each child who attends. Furthermore, Healthy Families does their best to provide Christmas presents to families who do not have the funds and resources to provide gifts to their children. Some staff even go to the lengths of dipping into their own wallets so no one wakes up on Christmas morning without a visit from Santa.
MHA NWI is a non-profit program designed to help new and expecting parents of children ages 0-5 years old to build a strong foundation for their child’s future. The staff at MHA NWI bends over backward for their clients. Family Support Specialists come in early and stay late to provide top notch services to the families they work with. It is, at times, a thankless job, but the hearts of these men and women have no limits, no bounds, and nothing is out of reach. Family Support Specialists do whatever it takes to make sure the families on their caseload have all the tools and resources to be successful and reach the goals they have for their babies and themselves. Healthy Families is what they are all about.
Progress is achieved by addressing concerns parents have regarding how a baby learns and grows, providing tips on positive parenting techniques, and connecting families to community resources such as job training, housing, food banks, clothing and healthcare providers. Healthy Families conducts Safe Sleep seminars for families who are both enrolled in the program and families who are not enrolled to ensure that all parents who take the class are educated on SIDS and other hazards associated with sleeping babies. Afterward, a FREE Pack and Play is provided to families so that their babies have a safe place to sleep. Additionally, MHA NWI – Healthy Families helps parents set and achieve their own goals in areas such as education, careers, and other family objectives. The Healthy Families staff conducts fun developmental activities to help ensure children are keeping up with their developmental milestones and also offer playgroups and special events. In turn, families earn “Baby Bucks” they can spend at the site’s Family Depot which offers a variety of items that babies and families need such as diapers, wipes, car seats, gates, high chairs, gift cards and much more! Other services offered are Baby and Me – Tobacco Free, Mothers and Babies (Pre and Post-Natal Depression services), Dad Matters, Parent’s Village, Ready to Soar, Early Start, I’m Thumbody Special, etc. All of the services provided are of NO COST to the families in the program. Healthy Families NWI services thousands of families all over Lake County.
I would like to thank PacMoore for the opportunity to help a selfless organization ensure that each of the families they support had gifts to open on Christmas day. I’d like to thank Jodie Lodle for assisting with design and helping remind supervisors and employees of our drive. I would also like to thank all of the PacMoore employees who donated and spread the word about the drive. This outreach effort has greatly impacted SO many of the families Healthy Families services during this holiday season. Terany Collins and MHA staff met our donation with unlimited enthusiasm and sent countless thanks PacMoore’s way. This was another reminder that giving is truly much better than receiving.