Everyone needs a helping hand every now and then. We’ve all been able to live and prosper because we live and cooperate as a community, and this means giving and getting help when necessary. We go farther together.
In New York City, where the cost of living is expensive, new and expecting mothers are receiving the help they need from a new pilot program, and 500 more moms will soon join them.
The Bridge Project
The Bridge Project is meant to help new mothers experiencing high poverty in zip codes made up mostly of people of color making less than $52,000 a year. Every two weeks, the new program gives $500 to each of the moms enrolled. This pilot program is funded with $16 million from the Monarch Foundation based in New York City. It is part of a series of pilot programs to give money to populations in need with no strings attached, and the Bridge Project is already seeing the benefits.
$500 might not seem like a lot, but it goes a long way toward supplementing the essentials new and expecting mothers buy, such as diapers, food, clothing, etc. Early research of the first six months of the Bridge Project shows that mothers were able to access childcare more and better afford essentials for their children.
The single mother of a young boy and a new baby, Kassandra Hernandez, was having trouble making ends meet before enrolling in the program. Now, she can afford diapers and baby wipes for her newborn and, on top of that, swim lessons for her older boy. She has even been able to start putting money away just in case there are some emergency expenses down the road.
Helping children’s futures by helping them today
There are programs similar to the Bridge Project in other American cities, such as San Francisco, that focus on alleviating the economic burdens felt by new moms. Research shows, too, that giving a child’s early life some economic stability can have many positive benefits in later years.
“What we’re starting to see from research more broadly is that investments in the earliest years do actually have the biggest payoff,” said Megha Agarwal, the executive director of the Monarch Foundation.
The Bridge Project has already begun enrolling the second group of 500 mothers in its next rollout, and hopefully more programs like these will keep springing up across the country to help mothers facing economic hardship. They can be hit the hardest by economic turns, and yet they have the most impact on our future citizens.