Hamilton charity opens new baby boutique to better serve neighbours in need

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Published June 11, 2021 at 2:57 pm

A new baby boutique is opening in Hamilton and it will service marginalized members of our community by giving them an opportunity to shop for their little ones for free.

Hamilton’s The Baby Depot has been providing hampers filled with a year’s worth of clothing for babies in need across the city for almost eight years.

Over the years, the organization, which works closely with several social agencies in Hamilton, has been able to support hundreds of families with more than 500 years’ worth of donated clothing that is carefully sorted, cleaned, selected, packed and delivered by volunteers and by The Baby Depot’s Program Co-ordinator, Stephanie Greenaway, the charity’s only employee.

The operation has been working out of a church basement but in recent months, The Baby Depot has started making the move towards establishing a storefront to provide a special experience for the neighbours it supports.

“[The shift] started a few years ago,” said Maggie John, The Baby Depot’s director and founder, who started the charity in her dining room in 2013.

“We wondered what it would look like if one of our parents was able to come into a welcoming space and pick out items for their child for free.”

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John said the hope was to transition to a new way to provide support and get the things to our neighbours in need in a way that was safe, clean, convenient, and dignified.

“Maybe you’ve come into difficulty in life, but that doesn’t mean you don’t deserve the best,” she said. “We really want to make this a special space for families to come and feel safe and welcomed.”

The Baby Depot Boutique, which opens its doors on Monday (June 14), was made possible through grants that will cover rental costs for the next year, but setting up the shop and transforming its blank canvas into something warm and welcoming has come with some extra cost.

To help with set-up costs, a crowdfunding campaign was set up early in June and John said The Baby Depot is always looking for donations, especially monthly donors, to help ensure the boutique can remain viable beyond its first year.

“We really depend on people’s giving,” she said. “It only costs 40$ to clothe a baby for one month.”

Baby clothing donations are also always needed and now those will be accepted at the new boutique and by reaching out through the charity’s website to arrange a drop-off.

The boutique, located on Barton Street East (near Sherman), will be accessed by appointment only on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

Shoppers, who will have been identified by one of the social agencies that work with The Baby Depot, will be able to schedule an hour to privately access the boutique to pick out their needed items, John explained.

“We don’t require any personal information from clients,” she added. “We are working off that interaction with social agencies because they know the need best.”

The boutique’s central location is also along a major HSR bus route, making the storefront easily accessible to the neighbours and neighbourhoods that The Baby Depot serves.

“We are very excited to be moving to this area that is going through so many changes right now,” John said.

“There are so many great other social connection points on that street and we’re very excited to add to that.”

Already, the immediate community has embraced The Baby Depot Boutique, which is one of the newest members of the Barton Village BIA.

“This is a very caring community in Hamilton,” John said. “We’re looking forward to figuring out how to partner with others nearby to help better support our neighbours.”

To learn more about The Baby Depot or to volunteer or donate, visit the charity’s website, follow them on social media or email them at [email protected]

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