Supporting Moms in Baltimore
13 May 2020 - Irene Bantigue

MOMCares provides postpartum doula support to black mothers with a NICU experience. We previously highlighted the growth of MOMCares’ services within the last year. We have since reconnected with Ana Temple Rodney, MOMCare’s Founder & Executive Director,  to learn more on how the team has extended their services more broadly to mothers experiencing multiple vulnerabilities as a result of COVID-19.

 We need to know what the financial fallout looks like for our families and ways in which we can be prepared to support them

Fridays are an especially busy time of the week for Ana: it’s when MOMCares opens their mini scholarship to support single mothers in need of financial assistance and household essentials, as well as virtual healing circles for yoga and stress alleviation. This is on top of daily care packages deliveries to mothers across the city and continued online mothership support groups.    

Though MOMCares typically focuses on supporting moms in the NICU, Ana quickly realized that their services were now needed by mothers at all stages of motherhood. They received over 50 inquiries for support during the earliest weeks of the pandemic. Since then, MOMCares has connected mothers in the 21217 community with more than $1,000 worth of diapers, wipes, and baby formula, and donated $1,500+ in immediate financial support to 31 mothers through their ongoing grants program. 

As a mother to a medically-sensitive five-year old, Ana finds herself in an intricate situation. “I have to balance being there for the community [while] also keeping myself and my son protected,” she shares. On that note, Ana expresses gratitude for her team who are working to ensure MOMCares distributes information and resources, matches the needs of the community, and sustains support efforts at this challenging time. 

The power of community is a broader silver lining that Ana has observed in recent weeks—”More people are caring for each other,” she says. “People are dialing in on how to support their neighbors and communities.” A new partnership with the Mera Kitchen Collective to deliver hot meals to moms and families is a prime example of rapid and meaningful collaborations that Ana hopes to continue cultivating as the weeks unfold. 

Yet Ana also stresses the importance of looking closely at the reasons underlying the uneven impact of the pandemic. “We need to be talking more about medical bias, institutional racism, and sources of health disparities,” Ana emphasizes. She adds that there are large disparities in access to information and resources provided by organizations like her own, and urges for groups to come together to undo them. 

Looking beyond this period, Ana says she is worried about the financial recovery that is going to have to happen. “We need to know what the financial fallout looks like for our families and ways in which we can be prepared to support them,” she says. “But the assistance to neighbors is [nonetheless] an amazing byproduct [of the pandemic].”

How can you help? 

  • MOMCares is in need of donations. If you have diapers, baby clothes, masks, bleach, and cleaning products are accepted. MOMCares is also looking to raise 25K for continued relief efforts. Consider making a donation today.
  • If you know of mothers who need support, please call 443-889-0930 or email [email protected] to discuss options available. Connect to MOMCares on social media for updates via Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.