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Consider Donating gently used baby carriers for refugees arriving in Europe

by Prince Of Petworth December 1, 2015 at 9:45 am 22 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user blake martin

From an email:

“I’m organizing a collection of gently used baby carriers for refugees arriving in Europe. Carry the Future is an organization that meets refugees as they arrive, and fits parents of babies and toddlers with carriers to help ease the burden and provide comfort and security on the next leg of their journey.

There are lots of ways that folks can participate:

– donate a gently used carrier (like a Baby Bjorn, Lillebaby, Mei Tai, or Ergo) at a variety of drop off locations anytime before Dec 15th, or at a Petworth home on Saturday Dec 12th (maybe before heading to the Upshur Street Art and Craft Fair?) We are asking for $5 per carrier, too, to offset shipping costs. Any excess funds will be donated directly to Carry the Future. As a special bonus, consider packing the carrier’s pocket with a note, protein bar, baby food pouch, or anything else that might ease a refugee’s journey

– If you don’t have a carrier to donate, shop off Carry the Future’s Amazon wish list

– if you live in a part of town not represented on the drop off sites list, become one yourself! (leave a box on your porch for drop offs, or coordinate with folks to receive if that isn’t a good option for you) Just post a message on our FB event page and we’ll follow up.

We have a Facebook event page that we are keeping updated with drop off sites and other information – learn more here!

Learn more about Carry the Future on their website (www.carrythefuture.org) or FB page.

Please note that Carry the Future requests softly-structured carriers only, not wraps or slings.”

  • MHM

    thank you for sharing!!

  • MPinDC
    • AMM

      This is an organization specifically designed to provide baby carriers. It is different than just randomly sending a baby carrier to the Red Cross and expecting them to do something with it. This organization is set up to handle baby carriers and that’s all they do. So if you want to donate a baby carrier send it to Carry the Future and not any other organization that does not want baby carriers. Send those organizations money.

      • KP

        +1000. Carry the Future is doing all the legwork and actually meeting refugees in the camps. They aren’t throwing a bunch of used carriers in a box labeled “Refugees”. I have a baby and every time Carry the Future is mentioned on Facebook, blogs, etc., someone shares that column, written by a Canadian woman who usually writes about dating and lifestyle. I’m not sure why her opinion is given so much weight.

        • textdoc

          “I’m not sure why her opinion is given so much weight.” Because of the sources she’s cited?
          “Just last week, Unicef, the World Food Programme and the Disasters Emergency Committee, an umbrella fundraising body for aid charities, launched a fresh public appeal for funding instead of material items. Charities are being flooded with tents and baby blankets while facing a massive shortfall in funding for food, health care and education.”

    • MHM

      As a development professional, I definitely agree that funds are the most flexible way to support! One reason I like Carry the Future is that they aren’t burdening other organizations with these items – rather, they are going and meeting refugees directly and quickly distributing these resources to those in need before they begin the next leg of their journey. Thanks for sharing this and continuing the conversation!

    • Susan

      BTW this article was written by a columnist not a development professional. She writes columns about dating in different cities not about working in a refugee camp. So I don’t buy jack on what she says.

      I’m a development professional – never worked in a refugee camp btw – and I think this is great as people are going to hand them out adjacent to the the camps not in place of. It is bringing attention to the issue; its allowing people to give something practical vs. overhead.

      I have a colleague who currently is working in camps in Lebanon and thinks this is wonderful.

      I also have a colleague who has worked in many camps across the world and wants people to send cash and doesn’t like the quickie aspect to this.

      Regardless of how you feel – the article this is crap and she even disabled comments – don’t donate a carrier if this is how you feel donate cash; donate locally to a shelter.

      Community Connections DC ([email protected]) is handing out wishlists for formerly homeless children in DC. Go play santa for a local kid. But help the people – its important for the people and important for your soul.

    • AG

      How about consider donating money AS WELL? I’ll take it from people who seem to know more that this organization is legit and useful, but I absolutely agree that giving money is the single best way to contribute. Not only does it ensure organizations get the supplies they actually need (including baby carriers), but it also helps support the local economy (which in Greece’s case is already very strained) when they can make purchases on the ground.

    • MPinDC

      Agree that the author of the article isn’t an expert.
      But colleagues who are currently working with the refugees in Jordan, Greece, etc have shared a similar viewpoint

      • Leslie

        Yes your colleagues haven’t tweeted about it, made Facebook statements, written an article?

        The author crows about the Twitter handle that was never used. Someone used it once to tweet her article and other tweets are for other issues and used ages ago.

        Your colleagues are passing around this article? I’m on various development blogs and nothing about this article or complaints.

        Also you work in development but yet you don’t say give to this org or that org?

        Who is going direct service for the refugees?

        Btw can we all agree to scream at the rich Arab nations that are doing jack? Not accepting refugees or giving money.

        • eva

          There are a lot of articles and posts written by more credible sources if that’s what you’re looking for. Sadly the Good Intentions are Not Enough blog seems to be out of business, she had a number of excellent posts on this topic:

          I also work in development and I am not authorized to speak on behalf of my employer so I will not do so on twitter or elsewhere because I value my continued employment. But what I will say is this, I have a great many colleagues who are working in or have recently returned from many of the main transit points in Europe including Lesvos and the Balkans they all say the same thing–the number of uncoordinated, fly by night do-gooders who have descended on these places is leading to Haiti-levels of cluster***. These locations are relatively safe and easily reached by good-hearted people of means. And those people are going there with baby carriers, and diapers and random other stuff. And there is no coordination among them because few of them have ever worked on mass displacement before and it is causing a lot of problems both for efficient and effective coordination of assistance as well as protection. Who is asking what do the refugees need? Not what do we think they need, but what do they SAY they need? Certainly not well meaning Americans who are gathering up very nice stuff to share with them. Maybe they will say they need baby carriers, but has anyone actually asked them?

          • MsSunshine

            Amen — I was about to say the same thing. Long-time humanitarian professional, here. Spent months a plenty in camps and urban ghettos where refugees are gathered. It is really better to send money to an organization that has the humanitarian machinery to do an effective response, not just provide one-off things when a random crisis springs up. Good groups — and there are many — do assessments, talk to refugees, do not presime to know what people need and coordinate response. Money is ALWAYS more flexible. It also helps to not distort local economies by bringing in a bunch of goods from the outside world.

          • AE

            Yeah, actually asking the refugees what they need wasn’t part of this baby carrier program.

          • MiddleofNowhere

            +1. Also a development professional.

        • MPinDC

          Leslie, there are plenty of reasons why colleagues wouldn’t be tweeting or making other statements on public social media about their work.
          Want some suggestions on organizations to donate to? MSF, Save the Children, CARE, Catholic Relief Services or choose one from this list:

        • MM

          The article has been circulating and shared. Some friends are critical of writerr, all agree with message. Cash is the best way to help.

  • Leslie

    And you can donate blankets and coats. Churches and temples all over DC are accepting and shipping out to camps.

  • Jane

    Does anyone have an article written by a development professional that is recent or not written by a columnist?

    I see a lot of “dev professionals” on here moaning that they didn’t ask the refugees what they wanted – but I didn’t realize this woman was forcing people to use a baby carrier. I think a lot of dev professionals are pissed they didn’t think about this first.

    Are you saying she should do nothing? People have a $100 baby carrier sitting there – send it or do nothing is really the option. Development professionals should understand how people donate and how people feel compelled to give. There is actually real science behind this.

    I’ve seen a lot of dev professionals defend their six figure salaries to help procure a road. But no one asked anyone if that’s what they need. Or giving cell phones to 8 year olds to read – another great development idea.

    Here is her response. She had a useful idea and is implementing it on her own. She is not asking people to donate to her and not you. She is not saying don’t listen to professionals regarding water and shelter. She’s letting people walk around a camp with their kid strapped to them vs. carrying them on their hip around a filthy camp let alone walking to Germany with a child on their hip. I guess you didn’t realize how much your back would hurt if you had to do that.

    Development professionals surely have seen the pictures of the dead children; the kids sleeping on garbage.

    You know there is a wealthy family that spent their summer on their yacht rescuing refugees so they wouldn’t drown. Should they have just given all their money to the professionals at Catholic Charities to use their boat? Should they have asked the refugees how they wanted to be lifted out of the water or if they wanted sprite or a coke?

    Yes I’m sure the downtown babies r’ us in Kos has a million carriers going unused. Get real Greece doesn’t have these items to give away or to be bought. We have too much in this country – we are helping folks with our excess. Baby carriers hardly get worn out. And the one thing the US didn’t do is screw up their economy.

    Stop shaming women who are trying to help others in needs. They aren’t collecting fur coats or pack and plays or kombucha to give to these women; they are sending a baby carrier and maybe a protein bar and stuffed toy.


    • Anonamom

      I applaud this reply.
      For those of you who are against giving in this manner – just don’t do it. Give to the charity you want in the manner you want.

    • textdoc

      “Shaming” is a popular buzzword these days, but I don’t think anyone on this thread is “shaming” the Carry the Future group — just pointing out that despite the group’s good intentions, it’s not experienced in dealing with refugee situations and might have a difficult time realizing its goals.

      “People have a $100 baby carrier sitting there – send it or do nothing is really the option.” That’s a false binary. People with baby carriers they don’t need can always give the carrier to Goodwill (or another local group that takes donated items) AND donate cash to MSF, Save the Children, or any of the other groups MPinDC mentions.

      • Anons

        + what text doc wrote.. no shaming, but sharing info about donating options that are useful

      • ella

        Or you could sell your lightly used baby carriers and donate the money. If the baby carrier is in good enough condition that it’s worth donating to someone in need then surely someone will buy it. I’m not shaming anyone, but I want to see humanitarian assistance to extremely vulnerable and traumatized people happen in the most efficient and effective way possible, and the more non-professionals who show up and desperately want to help, the more difficult it is for the professionals to do their jobs (people in yachts aside as I’m sure we can agree that there isn’t poor coordination of aid on the open ocean!). This isn’t about shaming anyone, it’s about making sure these people get what they need to survive and start new lives with as few problems and as few dangers as we can possibly manage.


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