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This is a truly painful blog post to write. Due to the rapidly unfolding public health situation resulting from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Nurture staff, Board of Directors, and volunteers have made the difficult decision to cancel this year’s Birth & Baby Fair, scheduled for April 11th. Our intention is two-fold: to protect the health of expecting and new parents and their extended families, and to slow the spread of disease in our community, so that our health care systems are not overwhelmed. Due to the uncertain nature of the course of this outbreak, coupled with our own limited resources, we are not planning to reschedule the event at this time. In making this decision, we relied on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention webpage “Get Your Mass Gatherings or Large Community Events Ready for Coronavirus Disease 2019” and the Virginia Department of Health

In lieu of the in-person gathering, we are exploring the possibility of a virtual presentation of the Birth & Early Parenting Speaker Series which was scheduled to take place simultaneously with the Birth & Baby Fair. We will keep you posted as to how that unfolds. 

Canceling this event feels like a gut punch: Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, we were on target for our most successful year yet in terms of money raised and exhibitors tabling: the loss of income will have significant repercussions for our breastfeeding and maternal health advocacy work. If you are willing to make a donation to support Nurture as we navigate this unprecedented situation, we’d be truly grateful. 

The coronavirus pandemic represents a unique challenge for our community. We are being encouraged to stay home if we are sick, to work remotely, and to practice social distancing. This may be impossible for those of us without access to adequate income, resources, and social capital. We are troubled by the news that Asian-Americans are being targeted during this crisis.

We encourage all of our partners and stakeholders to advocate for policies that promote the long term health of our communities, including universal health care coverage, paid family leave, and a living wage. Write, call, or email your legislators and challenge them to support these common sense social policies: MomsRising is a great resource for advocacy for family-friendly policies. The number of the US Capitol switchboard is 202-224-3121; your legislators’ contact information can be found at Who’s My Legislator

Closer to home: practice good hygiene, the best nutrition you can muster, regular rest and renewal, and forgive yourself regularly when you fall down. If you have time, check in on new parents and elderly neighbors, who may have need of more support during the coronavirus outbreak. Practice small acts of kindness daily – we are all going to need it in the days ahead. 

Thank you so much for your support and patience as we work through these challenging times. If you have any questions, ideas, or suggestions,  please email us at info@nurturerva.org or call us at 804-612-6366. We are working our way through this one day at a time

With deep appreciation,

Leslie Lytle, Executive Director
Shakeya Lewis, CLC, Social Media Manager
Cait Minnick, BIrth & Baby Event Chair
Sky Price, Volunteer Coordinator
Mikayla Dixon, VCU Intern
Amirah Chaplin, Birth & Baby Fair Assistant
April Fraser, President
Malikah Karim, Treasurer
Melicent Miller, Board Member
Cheyenne Varner, Board Member

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