HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - On Wednesday Governor Kay Ivey moved to abolish the Office of Rural Development. That had many asking about the future of the already widely popular "Baby Box Program".
It was just a couple of weeks ago that then Governor Robert Bentley officially launched the program, which provides free cardboard boxes that double as safe sleeping spaces for babies.
Each one comes with a firm mattress and fitted sheet, as well as onesies, diapers, wipes, and breastfeeding supplies. It was part of an initiative to decrease the infant mortality rate in Alabama. The program fell under the now abolished Office of Rural Development.
But, the Baby Box company released the following statement to WHNT News 19: "The Alabama universal Baby Box program has the educational contributions from the state, the program funding and logistics secured so these changes will not impact the program. The Baby Box program remains committed to expecting and new parents in Alabama and worldwide."
And while the future of the Baby Box program seems stable on the company's end, neither the state nor the governor's office has said what might happen with it moving forward. It was a collaborative effort with a number of agencies, the Office of Rural Development being just one.
Glenni Lorick is the president of A Nurturing Moment, one of just two North Alabama Baby Box distributors.
"The response has been overwhelming, we got our first shipment of 50 baby boxes two weeks ago. They're completely gone," said Lorick.
That tells her there is a real need for this program here in north Alabama, especially since doctors say babies should sleep in the same room with you, but not in the same space.
"A lot of parents can't afford a bassinet, so the Baby Box provides that separate but proximate safe sleep environment and it's been very well received," said Lorick.
She said the Baby Box program is helping the parents most at risk for losing an infant due to unsafe sleep.
"Those are the parents who we really need to reach, and who we are reaching. Those are the parents who are calling me, who would never have darkened the door of 'A Nurturing Moment' but they are now. They're getting their Baby Boxes and they're getting information," she explained.
With the Office of Rural Development's elimination, the state's aid in the Baby Box program is more crucial than ever.
"It's really important for people to understand I don't pay anything for the Baby Boxes, the customers don't pay anything for the Baby Boxes. This is a program funded by the state of Alabama," Lorick said.
But while Baby Box said it's staying in Alabama, the state has not said what their continued role will be.
"It's such a great program, I really hope it doesn't come to an end," said Lorick.
All you have to do to start the process of getting your very own Baby Box is click here and fill out the form.