Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A Helping Hand

Monday night, while watching the Evening News on the Johnstown Channel (WJAC-TV 6), my daughter, Mandy and I watched as a story unfolded that touched both of us very much.

A couple from the Johnstown area, Tammy and Mike Atterbury, were featured in this particular report about the impending addition due to arrive in their family. The Atterburys were expecting the arrival of their first child in June and just learned that they are not having one child, but rather there will be four babies - quadruplets!

My daughter and I were both really surprised at how cool, calm and collected both the prospective parents seemed to be, especially after we learned some of the issues facing them.

Relatively new to this area of Pennsylvania, they moved to Johnstown back in 2005. Mr. Atterbury is employed as a commuter pilot but the pay is so low that he had to take on a second job plus, with the news his wife is having quadruplets, the doctors have ordered her to be on bed rest which means losing her income. The financial factors are one thing to cope with but also, they have no family nearby to help with Mrs. Atterbury while she is on bed rest as both their families are in Kansas.

Anyone who has had ONE child knows all too well how quickly the expenses mount for baby items needed - bassinet, crib, car seat, plus gowns and sleepers, undershirts or "onesies" and of course, diapers - to say nothing of formula costs. Multiply that by four and you've got expenses rivaled close to the national debt!

The father had calculated with four babies, if each one uses 10 diapers per day, they will need 1,200 diapers a month. Car seats are necessities today too - required by law and are far from being an inexpensive item to purchase.

To assist this family, there is a fund that has been set up through the First National Bank - at any Johnstown branch -("The Quadruplet Fund") where donations can be made or, those who might be able to donate new or "gently used" baby items and who live near the Johnstown region can drop these off at the Galleria Mall office.

My daughter looked at me and said, "Twelve hundred diapers a month. WOW! That's a heck of an expense right there. Wouldn't it be nice if we could maybe have our church or some community organization sort of just "adopt" this family and have a baby shower, of sorts, asking people to donate a package of disposable diapers? If we could even just get 30 people to do that with a package of 40 diapers, that would cover one month's supply and would help a little, wouldn't it?"

My thoughts were that yes, that would be a tremendous assist there but we live roughly 100 miles from Johnstown so how could we possibly do something like that. However, the more I thought about this the more I thought why not give it a try.

So, my daughter and I decided with or without the backing of our church or any particular community action oriented organization, we're asking anyone who reads this and would like to help the Atterbury family be able to welcome home their four new babies later this year, to print out this posting and pass it on to those without a computer and internet service or to refer the information via blog and websites to ask for help for the couple.

Anyone wishing to participate in the "Diaper Shower" can send a package of diapers to us at our home and we will make sure it reaches the Atterbury family or, if you want to help but don't want to be burdened with shipping a package, our thought then would be to send a gift card from either Walmart, K-Mart, Target - any of the nationwide big stores like that - to us, in the name of Tammy and Mike Atterbury and we will see to it that they receive them also.

Or you can contact the WJAC-TV 6 news department online and request more information about the couple and their needs.

If you'd like to do a really good deed, for a couple in need you can contact us by e-mail, found by my profile or via the comments section on this posting.

Wouldn't this be a great way to lend a helping hand to welcome four little ones in to the world?

Maybe you have an organization in your region that would be willing to take on helping the family too - or perhaps your church. Why not see if they'd be willing to help out? Or, talk to friends, family, neighbors and see if they're interested too.

By working together, I think we can do more than just help the Atterburys meet their diaper needs for one month don't you?


Sandy Lender said...

This is a wonderful idea, Jeni. You're right that sending diapers through the mail will be more cumbersome than it's worth for people out of state, but the First National Bank surely has a web site where donations can be made to The Quadruplet Fund.

Thank you for getting the word out!

Sandy L.
"Some days, you just want the dragon to win."

Gene Bach said...

4 at once...bummer. What ever happened to cloth diapers? Does no-one use them anymore? Be a lot cheaper than 1200 disposables a month?