Agency takes big first step for babies

By Eboni Walker
Outlook writer

Sue Lostis’ life took an unexpected dramatic turn after she was involved in an auto accident.

Pregnant with twin boys, she ended up giving birth prematurely. She eventually lost her job, too.

However, she found hope when she walked through the doors at the Children Home Society of Florida (CHSF). Fourteen years later, Lostis is giving back. She serves the agency as a family reports specialist with CHSF’s Early Steps program.

She was at the forefront of the agency’s first baby shower, an event to collect supplies for infants. The three-week drive, which ended on May 12, brought in enough supplies for 600 families in Tallahassee.

“The items collected made the baby shower the most successful of its kind,” said Sarah Dittman, a quality management specialist with CHSF. The idea for the baby shower was the brainchild of a former CHSF volunteer in the Big Bend area. It was eventually approved to be put in place statewide for the first time this year.

The hardship that Lostis experienced before she found the Children Home Society of Florida exemplifies the lives of many of the parents she encounters. Some don’t have a job, with little financial support and barely making ends meet.

Beneficiaries of the baby shower are usually mothers of premature babies, as well as those families who have children who are disabled or suffering from developmental issues.

“There are many families in our community that I’ve seen firsthand that don’t have the resources needed for their kids,” said Lostis. “They do have to choose between paying rent and buying diapers or formula.”

Some of those families will at least get some reprieve because of the recent collection drive.

“When I tell them that we have a lending closet and resources for them they are thrilled (and) they can’t believe it,” said Lostis. “Parents tell me all the time, I can’t believe that someone actually cared.”

The agency will continue its effort to help families in need with two of its annual major events. A back-to-school drive is planned for this summer and in the fall will begin its holiday toy drive.

Both have been huge successes in the past.

“The thing is people love giving back,” Lostis said. “There are so many good people in the world and I think that they want to give back a lot especially when they are aware of the opportunity to do so.”

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