DATELINE: IRVINE, CA… Every year, infant formula is one of the most shoplifted items throughout the country. This brings into focus a problem faced by increasing numbers of families with a new baby as the economy tanks.
Parents of new babies who wondered “how am I going to afford this” before their baby arrived, are now losing part or all of their income and/or home. Now what? There’s no real answer for them, other than cutting back and trying to replace the lost income. If they don’t have luck with replacing that income, things can get steadily worse. With a baby screaming due to hunger and no money to pay for infant formula (which runs $50 per week), the temptation for a father to steal it from the local market is understandable. Yet, it is not an option. Dad being arrested for shoplifting will only add to the economic nightmare for a young family.
According to Greg Bishop, founder of Boot Camp for New Dads, a non-profit orientation program for fathers-to-be, operating in more than 260 hospitals, clinics, schools, fire stations and churches around North America and internationally, and author of two books on fathering, there are alternatives available for feeding baby and family.
Bishop explained, “Every community has a ‘safety net’ for families falling off the economic ladder and they generally give priority to children. Dad will need to learn how to navigate this network, which can be very frustrating, particularly now when there is growing competition for limited resources and each community has a unique arrangement of resources and organizations involved.”
But, assistance is out there. Boot Camp for New Dads provides some basic guidelines to follow:
· Look for support early when it becomes apparent you may need it. There may be waiting lists, or an eligibility period, etc. Connect with the local information and referral system. Don’t know where to start? Ask at a church, county welfare, a senior citizen center or food bank.
· Start with a local food bank to supplement your family’s meal costs. They can also provide a wealth of information (talk to others in line and staff as well) for anyone accessing the “safety-net” for the first time.
· Check into your family’s eligibility for food stamps. The national program through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service is now known as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). The SNAP program provides families with an electronic card, similar to an ATM card which may be used for groceries. In general, families with an income of less than $2000 per month for a family of four are eligible. (Visit www.fns.usda.gov/FSP)
· Housing is tough due to limited resources. Homeless shelters can be a temporary fix, but they are not set up for families. Subsidized housing may be an option that is available to you and your family, but waiting lists are involved, so investigate this option as soon as you know you may need it.
· You may be eligible for help with your utility bills, especially heating oil. Check with your local referral system.
· Temporary income assistance may also be available from your county welfare office.
· If you lose your health insurance, check out local health clinics for the uninsured for both treatment and information on insurance alternatives (like Medicaid for your child).
· Look for odd jobs to pay something.
Bishop continued, “When times are tough, the man who does whatever is necessary, in an honest way, to take care of his family, is a man in its truest sense.”
Tips, Advice, Instructions and more
Greg Bishop offers strategies from more than 200,000 new dads that have gone through the Boot Camp for New Dads program in his second book, Crash Course for New Dads: Tools, Checklists and Cheat Sheets. His first book, Hit the Ground Crawling, covers work balance, being a dad, caring for a new mom and much more. Both books are available online at www.DadsAdventure.com.
New Dads Learn What to Expect at Boot Camp Workshops
Dads-to-be will be better equipped to face the challenges and opportunities of fatherhood after attending a Boot Camp “hands on” educational workshop. Men attend the class when they are expecting their first baby, and are joined in the workshop by “veterans” who had previously attended and have returned with their two to four-month-old baby in tow. They are able to give the dads-to-be a realistic idea of what to do and what to expect when their first baby comes. For many men attending, it’s their first time holding a baby.
Boot Camp for New Dads
Now celebrating their 18th year, Boot Camp for New Dads is nationally acclaimed as the “Best Practice” for preparing men to be fathers and has been named a U.S. Navy Model Program. Boot Camp for New Dads has prepared more than 200,000 men for fatherhood over the years.
With more than 4.1 million births (National Center for Health Statistics) and approximately 1.5 million men becoming new dads every year, it’s more important than ever for fathers to realize that being a “good provider” is only part of the very central role they have in their children’s lives.
For more information about Boot Camp for New Dads, visit www.bcnd.org, or to visit Dads Adventure, go to www.DadsAdventure.com. To arrange an interview with Greg Bishop, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org, (781) 582-1061.
National and International Locations
Boot Camp For New Dads locations include ALASKA (Anchorage); ARIZONA (Chandler, Flagstaff, Gilbert, Mesa, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Sun City); ARKANSAS (Jonesboro, Paragould, Springdale); CALIFORNIA (Apple Valley, Bakersfield, , Fresno, Garden Grove, Irvine, Laguna Hills, Madera, Merced, Mission Hills, , Oakland, Orange, Pomona, Port Hueneme, San Diego, Santa Ana, Santa Barbara, , S. Lake Tahoe, Travis, Valley Springs); COLORADO (Aurora, Boulder, Colorado Springs, Denver, Durango, Fort Collins, Fort Carson, Greeley, Longmont, Thornton, Wheat Ridge); CONNECTICUT (Bristol, Danbury, New London); FLORIDA (Brandon, Clearwater, Hollywood, Jacksonville, North Palm Beach, Orlando, St. Petersburg, West Palm Beach, Sarasota, Tampa); GEORGIA (Atlanta, Elberton, Gainesville, Marietta, Savannah); HAWAII (Pearl Harbor, Schofield); ILLINOIS (Aurora, Carbondale, Champaign, Chicago, East St. Louis, Evanston, Freeport, Geneva, Great Lakes, Highland Park, Libertyville, Moline, Oak Park, Rockford, Springfield, Urbana, Winfield); INDIANA (Anderson, Bluffton, Hammond, Indianapolis, Jeffersonville, Kokomo); IOWA (Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, Jefferson, Sioux City); KANSAS (Junction City, Topeka); KENTUCKY (Paducah); LOUISIANA (Covington); MAINE (Auburn, Augusta, Bangor, Brunswick, Ellsworth, Waterville); MARYLAND (Annapolis) MASSACHUSETTS (Beverly, Ipswich, Lowell, Nantucket, Plymouth, Weymouth, Springfield); MICHIGAN (, Ann Arbor, Bay City, Centreville, Iron Mountain, Ithaca, Kalamazoo, Niles, St Joseph, Ypsilanti); MINNESOTA (Brainerd, Duluth, Robbinsdale); MISSISSIPPI (Tupelo); MISSOURI (Jefferson City) MONTANA (Billings, Helena, Miles City); NEBRASKA (Kearney, Lincoln, Omaha); NEVADA (Las Vegas) NEW HAMPSHIRE (Manchester, Portsmouth); NEW JERSEY (Princeton) NEW YORK (Glens Falls, Little Falls, Mineola, Rome, Utica); NORTH CAROLINA (Burlington, Chapel Hill, Charlotte, Concord, Ft. Bragg, Greensboro, Monroe, Raleigh, Shelby); NORTH DAKOTA (Grand Forks); OHIO (Akron, Cleveland, Columbus, East Cleveland, East Liverpool, Garfield Heights, Lima, Lorain, Mayfield Heights, Middleburg Heights, Orange Village, Portsmouth, Toledo, Warren, Westlake, Youngstown); OKLAHOMA (Claremore, Oklahoma City, Tulsa); OREGON (Corvalis, McMinnville, Salem, Silverton); SOUTH CAROLINA (Columbia, Pickens, Walhalla); TENNESSEE (Chattanooga, Knoxville, Memphis); TEXAS (Amarillo, Dallas, Fort Hood, Longview, Lubbock, Plano, San Antonio, Texarkana, Waco, Webster); VERMONT (Barre, Brattleboro, Middlebury); VIRGINIA (Charlottesville, Chesapeake, Hampton, Richmond) WASHINGTON (Everett, Fairchild AFB, Longview, Olympia, Puyallup, Yakima); WEST VIRGINIA (Wheeling); WISCONSIN (Florence, Green Bay, Madison, Oshkosh, Watertown, Wausau); JAPAN (Atsugi, Yokosuka), ITALY (Sicily); UNITED KINGDOM [a.k.a. Hit the Ground Crawling] (Birmingham, Liverpool)