By Ana Borruto

Southside Hospital’s Bundles of Joy program is helping new moms adjust to postpartum life during the ongoing pandemic.

The brainchild of Southside’s Wendi Andria, a registered nurse and an international board-certified lactation consultant, the program cares for mothers in a community hit hard by COIVD-19. Andria said that during the pandemic she felt a little “helpless” figuring out how her department could deliver support to new mothers.

“Imagine going home as a new mom with a baby and not being able to leave your house,” Andria said.

Andria noted that she and her department came up with the idea to provide Bundles of Joy to new mothers as a way to ease the transition into new life at home with a baby.

Andria said the program began kicked off in April and the whole hospital community, including the maternal-child department and the OB/GYN service line, jumped at the opportunity to get involved.

Anthony Aprile, Southside’s OB/GYN administrative director, said the surrounding community heavily supported hospital workers during the COVID-19 outbreak, so they wanted to pay it forward.

“One of the big things was that the community had such a great outpouring for healthcare workers here, and this is just a way we thought we could give back to the community,” Aprile said.

The program has received over $11,000 in donations from residents and local businesses, enabling it to provide over 120 Bundles of Joy for new mothers leaving Southside Hospital.

The packages themselves include such grocery items as peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, soup, rice, bread, tuna fish and granola bars. Other bags include baby supplies for mothers upon discharge.

The bundles are packed by the hospital’s maternal child and nutritional services staff.

United Way donated 300 $25 Target gift cards to include in the bundles. Local Burger and other businesses also offered gift cards for the donation.

“We just put a package together — they got two grocery bags, some gift cards, and we gave it to every new mom,” said Andria.

Andria said she believes supporting new mothers is the least the hospital can do right now.

“These moms are going home at a time of such uncertainty,” Andria said. “The nurses felt really good about it and we had the nurses who were taking care of the patients explain the program, so I think it just made everyone feel grateful that we can do something.”

The program is going to continue to run until the funds run out.

“The hope was that it was just one thing that could be taken off their plate for a week or week and a half so they can settle into this new environment with a baby at home and into the environment of just the world right now,” said Aprile.

For information on how to contribute to the Bundles of Joy program, you can contact Wendi Andria at 631.894.5282 or wandria@northwell.edu.

Donations can be made via: support.northwell.edu/bundlesofjoy

Featured image provided by Southside Hospital.

Photo Caption: Southside Hospital patient Reina Ortiztadeu receiving her Bundles of Joy packages.