PORTLAND, Maine — When a baby is born in Kennebunkport, the hospital notifies the town office, which notifies the town nurse. The town nurse then notifies a health council volunteer who coordinates a baby box delivery.
Bridget Broydrick volunteers on the Kennebunkport Health Council. She’s also a new mom, looking to find ways to help young families adjust to life in town.
"I gave birth last year and had heard about baby box programs when I was pregnant," said Broydrick. "I was hopeful there might be one in the area, and there wasn’t."
Broydrick pitched the idea of a Baby Box to Kennebunkport Health Council last year to help new parents with the financial challenges of raising a newborn. The boxes come packed full of goods from a retailer in the Midwest but are full of Maine flair.
"People can feel good about using it as a nap space or even an overnight sleeping space for a newborn," Broydrick said.
Kennebunkport’s birth rates hover in the teens and twenties each year, so Bridget thought 15 boxes would be a good place to start. This year, they’ve already given four away.
Raven Fulford got one of those four boxes. She didn’t know the program existed until the box showed up at her doorstep.
"I just kind of went through it, and it was really nice. There was a hat, and there was a onesie and wipes and diapers and all sorts of things that were useful and cute," Fulford said.
Baby boxes come at no cost to Kennebunkport residents.
"It’s really nice to know that this place exists, and the public health department is doing this program and running on donations," Fulford said.
Bridget hopes new families feel supported enough to stick around.
"A baby box is not going to convince people to stay in Kennebunkport or move to Kennebunkport, but it is a nice way to say we care about our young families and they’re an important part of our future," Broydrick said.
The baby boxes also make new parents aware of the resources of Kennebunkport's public health department, including two town nurses that are available for support and questions. Donations for the program can be made to the Kennebunkport Public Health Office.