By Desiree Cooper, Michigan Chronicle
Whose problem is it that more than 59 percent of Detroit children live in poverty? Or that countless Detroit infants have to leave the hospital without any guarantee that their basic needs will be met at home?
Twenty-five years ago, Barbara Patton decided the problem was hers.
“I have no biological children of my own,” said Patton, 62. “But I still have a responsibility to the children of this city.”
For years, the long-time Detroiter and professional fundraiser, met that responsibility at the Detroit Medical Center’s Hutzel Women’s Hospital.
“I used to volunteer with the Cradle Care Program,” said Patton. “After you get certified, you can go in any time and hold or feed the preemies in the Special Care Nursery. You just love them and rock them. The extra touch helped them thrive and gain weight more quickly.”
In 1991, Patton had another idea. She was a member of the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs, Detroit Club. The 81-year-old organization has a mandate for each local chapter to do a health initiative. “I thought it would be great to do a community baby shower for new mothers who need assistance,” Patton said. “At our first shower, we were shocked when the people started filing in with buckets and buckets of stuff.”
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