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Pittsfield Kiwanis Gifts Newborn Safety Kits to BMC's Birth Center
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
04:40PM / Saturday, May 27, 2023
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Kiwanis President Curtis Janey presents BMC's Family Birthplace Director Deborah Rugen and Nursing Director Susan Gazzillo with kits for new moms.

Kiwanis President Curtis Janey says the new-mom kits are the first club project at BMC. The next will be a distribution of teddy bears. 

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Kiwanis Club of Pittsfield provided Berkshire Medical Center's family birthplace with around 100 newborn safety kits on Tuesday as its first service project of the year.

These kits include outlet covers, a rubber duck that checks if bath water is at the right temperature, and pamphlets with tips for new mothers after being discharged from the hospital.

"The family birthplace does prepare them for so much already but this is just something to help them out along the way," Kiwanis President Curtis Janey explained.

He said the care package will make things a little safer for the new babies — especially for new parents. The materials give tips for water, medicine, and sleep safety as well as preventing falls.

They also give a gentle reminder that all babies cry.

BMC staff members were grateful for the gifts and the work of the Kiwanis Club.

"We're so focused on sending our moms and babies and extended family out with the best experience not only here, but preparing them for home because we know that babies cry and all of those other things," Senior Director of Nursing Susan Gazzillo said.

"So I think this just kind of goes with our whole mission to take care of our community. We hope we do that very well within our walls and this is just a way to send them home so that we can take care of them outside our walls."

She said the club is the community, telling Janey that "you need us and we need you."

Family Birthplace Department Director Deborah Rugen sees the kits being handed out upon discharge and said it will be a "really nice addition."

This is the club's first service project at BMC and Janey said the hospital was chosen because it is "homegrown." While efforts are spread throughout the county, Pittsfield is a priority.

"We want to make sure we take care of our hometown first," he said.

The Kiwanis International's mission is to serve the needs of children. The Pittsfield branch's next project will be distributing teddy bears to the hospital.

"We're in this together and it is our community," Gazzillo said. "It is our city."

The annual Park of Honor in Park Square is the club's biggest draw. Flags are purchased in honor of local veterans to raise money for scholarships that support the children and grandchildren of veterans.

This year will be the 10th year of the fundraiser and Janey is hoping that it will be bigger than ever.

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