Pamela Delisle believes that even a community can’t spoil a baby enough.
In May, the mother-of-two launched You Can’t Spoil a Baby — a year-round, volunteer-run project that collects donations of new and gently-used baby clothes and distributes gift bags to families in need.
An attachment-parenting advocate, Delisle said the idea was inspired by her time as a social worker at Women’s Hospital before she became a stay-at-home mom.
"I feel that as someone who is privileged, I have a welcomed responsibility to try and even out the difference between the haves and have-nots," said Delisle, who was raised in La Salle and attended St. Norbert Collegiate.
Six months after the launch of the organization’s website on Mother’s Day, the Charleswood resident said YCSAB has grown to include 20 volunteers and 10 donation drop-off points in and around the city, including south St. Vital, River Heights, La Salle, West Kildonan and East Kildonan.
Despite its growth, the project is still run out of Delisle’s spare bedroom. She hopes to eventually relocate to a bigger space "that better suits our needs and gives us the ability to get more baby clothes into the hands of new parents."
"It’s a lofty goal, but we’re looking for a permanent space to continue and grow. As my family is growing, space is getting smaller, so we’re trying to find ways to continue with the project," she said.
Delisle said an upcoming family-friendly, clothes sorting event will have several purposes. It will be a chance for individuals to drop-off items and volunteers to sort them, while it will also be an opportunity to attract new volunteers and introduce children to volunteering.
The event will take place at John Black Memorial United Church (898 Henderson Hwy.) in East Kildonan on Wed., Nov. 28 from 10 a.m. to noon.
"The practical goal is to sort donations, as many volunteers don’t have the time at the end of a long day. But it’s also about raising awareness among families. I’m hoping parents will be able to start a conversation about who needs baby clothes and why. There’s a heartwarming side to it," Delisle said.
On the day, there will be age-appropriate activities, such as a toddler station for younger kids who will be able to decorate greeting cards for the gift bags.
Delisle said another goal is to continue improving the quality of the gift bags.
"In the beginning, it was mainly clothes and shoes, but now more people are making extra efforts and spending hours making baby moccasins or knitting babywear items, so we’re reaching out to people with artistic blood and creative or crafty talents," she said.
South St. Vital resident Laura Russell’s home is one of the YCSAB drop-off points.
"My family has such an amazing support system and I know how difficult being a parent is on the best days," said Russell, who has two small boys and runs a home daycare full-time.
"You’re constantly questionning yourself, so to think someone might have the added stress of not being able to support a child, this helps them raise their child."
For more information, or to volunteer, visit www.youcantspoilababy.org.