Green Meadow kindergarten teacher Erin Tarbox turned a frightening experience this past spring into a selfless gift to others.
Mrs. Tarbox was pregnant with her second child, but a complication forced an emergency C-section at just 30 weeks. Her daughter Brinley was successfully delivered, but weighing just under two pounds, needed to stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at St. Peter’s Hospital for two months.
It was a stressful and challenging time for Mrs. Tarbox and her husband Chris, who visited Brinley every day. After going through that experience, Mrs. Tarbox decided that she wanted to create care packages for the other families in the NICU to make life a little easier on them.
Mrs. Tarbox teamed up with the March of Dimes and then reached out to friends on Facebook to see if anyone would donate items for the bags.
So far, 110 Brinley’s Bags have been donated, and Mrs. Tarbox is planning to make 180 more for local NICUs after the holidays in January.
“The support was overwhelming and so appreciated,” Mrs. Tarbox said. “We live in the best community.”
Most of the donations came from East Greenbush families – fellow teachers and staff, students and their parents. Each bag includes toiletries, water, snacks, a journal and gift cards to places such as Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks. Each bag also has a letter from Erin and Chris Tarbox that shares their story and some helpful advice for parents.
Now seven months old, Brinley Tarbox is healthy and doing well at home. And Mrs. Tarbox is grateful to everyone who has supported her family and Brinley’s Bags.
“The reaction has been so positive and families have reached out saying it really helped them through,” Mrs. Tarbox said. “That makes it all worth it.”
Mrs. Tarbox is scheduled to return to school on January 2.
Brinley’s Bags in the News
- Mom Gives Back to NICU with “Brinley’s Bags” (St. Peter’s Health Partners)
- Mom’s Idea Brings Comfort to Parents of Newborns with Big Challenges (News Channel 13)