Most college students spend their time waiting for a care package. Imani Johnson, second-year FAMU health informatics and information management student, spends her time creating them.
For the past three years, Johnson has collected baby supplies and donated them to local neonatal intensive-care units (NICU). This year is the first year she donated to Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare.
Johnson expressed how her experience as a Girl Scout help her create the basket drive.
“As a member of Girl Scouts of America I started this project three years ago and obtained my Gold Award. The Gold Award is the highest achievement of a Girl Scout. Over the past three years I have donated over 100 baskets to community hospitals in Miami. After being in Tallahassee for two years I decided my ‘First Steps For Preemies’ to my Tallahassee community,” Johnson said.
Many families with babies in the NICU do not have the time to take care of matters outside of making sure their child is healthy. Johnson is able to empathize with the families and that is why she decided to help.
“I feel that it is important to donate baskets to premature babies because not everyone understands the struggle that the families go through. Many premature babies have respiratory and developmental problems causing them to stay in the hospital for longer stays of time,” Johnson said. “These baskets provide the families and the infants with their first start.”
During February, Johnson collected over 200 diapers and other supplies from the Tallahassee community and her hometown community of Miami. Johnson was able to create 20 of baskets for the Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare NICU. Johnson was able to meet the families she gave the baskets to.
“I do this to help the babies with their first steps in life. I feel that giving back is helping my community. I have a passion for infants and seeing them get the proper care that they need. During my visit to Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare NICU I was able to meet families of premature babies,” Johnson said.
Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare Foundation annual giving officer Judi Wills shared how Johnson was able to help a lot of babies and families with her basket drive.
“The drive has helped many of the over 650 babies and their families served annually by Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare’s NICU and provided them with items that are very much appreciated during baby’s hospital stay and upon discharge to be home with families,” Wills said.
Wills also expressed how important the basket drive is to the families and shared her gratitude to Johnson and everyone who supported her.
“The gift basket drive was very important, as they provided a positive distraction for the parents of babies cared for by Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare’s NICU. Many times, parents and families are stressed and anxious during their baby’s treatment and hospitalization and the gift baskets helped to relieve that stress. The TMH Foundation and Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare’s NICU are very grateful to Ms. Imani Johnson and her family, friends and church members who helped to support the drive,” Wills said.
There are many needs the local community can help with regard to support for the NICU babies and their families who are served by Tallahassee Memorial, including cash donations and gift in kind donations.
For more information about NICU babies and their families, contact Judi Wills at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call (850) 431-5904.