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Vice President Kamala Harris visits LA nonprofit to launch kits for newborns

Vice President Kamala Harris returned to Los Angeles on Friday, May 19, and toured a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing supplies and support to needy new mothers, while also announcing a federal partnership aimed at improving maternal health.

Harris touched down at Los Angeles International Airport around 1 p.m. and was taken by motorcade to the headquarters of the nonprofit Baby2Baby, which provides baby supplies to low-income mothers locally and nationally, and also offers information on available government support resources.

Harris met with a group of mothers during the visit, and announced a partnership between the nonprofit and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that will distribute newborn supply kits — including essential goods and maternal health items — to new moms.

“Every mother or mother-to-be should have access to the support they need for their family to be healthy,” Harris said in a statement. “Through this partnership, our Administration continues to prioritize the maternal health of women across America.”

The federal agency also introduced a website at www.hhs.gov/newbaby providing information about federal resources and information on topics including health, feeding, child development and sleeping.

“The disparities in maternal and neonatal health care in this country are staggering — and unacceptable,” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement. “The pilot program with Baby2Baby provides much needed supplies to mothers and their newborns. The Biden-Harris Administration will continue to use every lever available to address the disparities in our health care system and provide whole-person care to pregnant people and their families. This is another strong example of government working in partnership with leaders in the community to solve problems for the American people.”

Baby2Baby’s co-CEOs, Norah Weinstein and Kelly Sawyer Patricof, issued a joint statement saying they “want to ensure that new moms have everything they need to get their babies’ lives started off on the right track. When we can provide these critical items, not only can mothers pay their rent and put food on the table, but it helps their mental health by alleviating the stress of meeting their children’s most basic needs.”

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The first 3,000 newborn supply kits will be distributed to mothers in Arkansas, Louisiana and New Mexico. The kits include hygiene items, blankets and thermometers for newborns, lotions, cold backs, breastfeeding items and other supplies.

It was unclear how long Harris will remain in the area, although she lives in Brentwood and often spends time at home while in Los Angeles.

Harris was in Los Angeles in mid-April, when she spent five days in the area. During that visit, she toured the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator and discussed efforts to build a “clean energy economy.” She also spoke outside Los Angeles City Hall following a march for reproductive rights.

She had been scheduled to make an appearance at Cal State Dominguez Hills on Thursday for a town hall meeting marking Mental Health Action Day. The Los Angeles Times reported that Harris pulled out of the event in a show of solidarity with striking Writers Guild of America members.

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