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Finding Hope and Paying It Forward

“Knowing I have diapers for my children means one less thing to worry about. It takes some of the stress away, and I know that there’s hope out there.”
Venessa Baez, mom to Jean Carlos, Raul & Nathalie

When Venessa Baez’s second son was a baby, she knew something wasn’t quite right with his eating. “He was always spitting food up, and he couldn’t really consume it properly,” she says. Diagnosed with pancreatic divisum, Venessa’s son had to be a on a feeding tube to help with his chronic pancreatitis. Already living paycheck to paycheck, Venessa was dismayed to learn that her Medicaid benefits would not be enough to help her shoulder the weight of the mounting medical costs.

Venessa found support from an Early Head Start Home Base Program. “A nurse would visit me every single week, bringing me diapers,” she explains. “I also received diapers from an organization called Welcome Baby, and I saw these stickers that said ‘Diaper Bank of North Carolina.’ These groups, with people just giving out of the goodness of their hearts… they’re truly godsends.”

There were definitely moments when times got tough, Venessa recalls. “I would be exhausted, and I didn’t want to do the home visit, but I stuck with it,” she says. “And the Early Head Start Program changed my life: They believed in me and helped me get a job with Durham Connects, where I’m able to help moms and give back to the community that was there for me when I needed it. It’s a ripple effect.”

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