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In Buncombe County, 27% of young children are living in poverty. i play., a local clothing and natural baby product store in Asheville, has partnered with Smart Start of Buncombe County to ensure hundreds of families receive new quality clothing for their infants and toddlers.
“I got the idea to partner with Smart Start when I was invited to join their board and learned more about the work they do. They serve children birth to 5 years of age and our clothing line is for this same age group,” explained i play. co-owner, Emi Kubota.
Smart Start is coordinating the distribution of the clothing to various programs in the community specifically designed to assist families with young children in need, including: Nurse Family Partnership; Child Protective Services; Mother Love; and Emma Resource Center.
In addition to these programs, clothing will be provided to licensed family child care homes. Often these home-based providers have limited resources and need extra clothing for the children in their care. Clothing will also be made available to families participating in the Smart Start funded Infant/Toddler Play and Learn Groups project.
“We identified agencies and programs that we knew were reaching families who were facing economic challenges and struggling. The first 2000 days are the most critical time in the development of a young child. If we can help struggling families with basic needs like clothing, then we alleviate some stress for young children.” said Amy Barry, Smart Start Executive Director.