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Boise charity taking Baby Steps, even during a pandemic

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Posted at 6:00 AM, Jun 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-08 10:18:44-04

BOISE, Idaho — A Boise charity has not allowed the COVID-19 pandemic to stop its mission. Baby Steps lived up to its name over the last year as leaders kept putting one foot in front of the other to make sure babies in Boise got the best possible start in life.

Fatima Al-Qaysi says her first child, 6-month-old Ahmed, is the biggest blessing of her life. Fatima speaks to Ahmed in Arabic and English because she wants him to learn both languages.

Fatima was born in Iraq but moved to Syria for high school. Shortly after graduating, her family's home was bombed and they fled the war-torn country for the United States and arrived in Boise nine years ago.

"They say do you have any family there and I say yes, my uncle and they say okay we take you there just in case you guys need help, you have someone who can help you," said Fatima.

She built strong ties with the refugee community and when she got pregnant, her friend Sarah is the one who brought her to Baby Steps.

"We have a lot of high emotions here, we deal with and the families deal with," said Pam Schumacher, the interim director of Baby Steps. "So we want to make sure they know they are not alone."

That isn't an easy mission during a pandemic. Baby Steps moved its education programs online and parents drive by the downtown Boise office weekly to pick up diapers, wipes and other baby gear. But everyone admits it's just not the same as being together in person.

"We're small enough where we can reach out to each other and help each other with that sense of community," said Schumacher. "And I think that's one of the things we have missed most is not being there and connecting with them one-on-one."

As a full-time working mother, Fatima says the program gives her family an extra support system and has encouraged her to dream again. She's hoping to one day earn her college degree, but right now her focus is Ahmed.

For this year's Community Baby Shower, you can buy or drop off new baby supplies at any Albertsons store in the Treasure Valley on June 9. But you don't have to wait until then, you can click here and donate now. You can also text the word BABY to 345345.

Albertsons will be matching the first $15,000 we raise, so join us in person on June 9 or online right now the help support the youngest members of our community.