United Way of Long Island showering new mothers with support in buying essentials

Baby showers have a much different meaning these days thanks to United Way's efforts to help new mothers from afar.
Maria Ayala is the proud new mom of 6-week-old Adrienne Omar Vasquez Ayala. The 21-year-old gave birth at Good Samaritan Hospital during the coronavirus pandemic.
"It's like a one, two, three process. They check to make sure everything is OK and that's it, you go home," says Ayala. "He's good. He's healthy, everything is OK."
But financially, it's been a struggle for the family. Ayala's boyfriend is a construction worker and has been out of work because of the crisis.
Ayala says she's extremely grateful for United Way of Long Island, which gave her a Target gift card to help her purchase baby essentials.
"Every penny counts so it helped out, it's another expense that I have to be doing right now which is a little tough," says Ayala. "They help out a lot and sending me that gift card really did make a difference."
The gift card is part of United Way's community baby shower program. Normally the organization would provide new moms baby shower essentials like diapers and wipes, but President Theresa Regnante says because of the pandemic, they're helping with gift cards instead.
"The gift cards are a $25 denomination, but we leave it up to the provider in the hospital to really give more cards to families that are struggling and show great need," says Regnante.
So far the organization has handed out more than 1,000 gift cards, and will continue to as long as they're able, thanks to community support.