On Monday, April 4th the Maui County Office on Aging (MCOA) had a “Baby Shower” themed staff meeting to benefit local nonprofit Malama Family Recovery Center. Staff members set up decorations, made cupcakes and donated baby-related items like diapers, baby shampoo, diaper rash cream, toys, etc.
Malama is the only women-specific addiction treatment center on Maui and the only place where young children and infants can live with their mothers in residential treatment.
“When I invited my co-workers to bring a donation for this worthy cause, their generosity was truly humbling and overwhelming,” said MCOA Community Living Program Coach Monica Morakis.
“Giving anything to Malama equals giving to your mom, your sister, your aunty or your best friend. We all are interconnected in our Maui community and by taking care of Ohana, we make Maui no ka oi!”
During the meeting former Malama client Christine Sa’u shared how Malama has changed her life and her relationship with her children. Gifts donated will benefit infants of women in Malama’s BabySAFE (Substance Abuse Free Environment) Program, which ensures pregnant women can access substance abuse treatment, prenatal services and intensive case management so they can get clean and give birth to healthy babies. Staff members continue providing support and treatment once women give birth so moms can learn about healthy child development and access any needed community resources.
“We are grateful beyond words for these gifts,” said Malama Clinical Director Dr. Lisa Ponichtera. “Any woman who has just given birth is obviously going to be stressed and need extra support, and that is especially true of women in addiction recovery. Donations like these allow our clients, most of whom have extremely limited financial resources, to focus on their new babies and health, instead of worrying about buying all the necessary supplies needed for newborns.”
The BabySAFE Program is almost 100% supported through donations and is always in need of baby-related toiletries and other items. To learn more, visit www.malamafamilyrecovery.org or call Malama’s Development Coordinator Frances Duberstein at 808-579-8414, ext. 8102.