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Second Chance gift bags will help babies with NAS and their caregivers

This week the group will deliver its first gift bags to the Grow With Me Clinic at East Tennessee Children's Hospital

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A tote bag full of baby clothes is a great gift for any new parent but especially those unexpectedly taking care of a new baby, a baby born after exposure to drugs.

Providing those gift bags is the mission of a new non-profit called Second Chance. It is under the umbrella of Tennessee Overdose Prevention. 

Recently, volunteers gathered the Bearden Branch Library to sort donated tops and pants and dresses and socks. 

Credit: WBIR
Volunteer Regan Portman sorts baby clothes at the Bearden Branch Library

"I felt like there was a big need to hand out clothes for these children who don't have as much as everybody else," Regan Portman said.

The clothes are specifically for babies suffering from Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS). They were born after exposure to drugs during pregnancy.

"When the infants come out of the NICU and they go home with the grandparents, aunts and uncles, or even just people in the community that are willing to take these babies when the parents are not able to care for them," Tammy Fugatt said.

The Second Chance realized those caregivers have the hearts to care for the kids, but maybe not the means.

"We felt like this would help them at least for part of the first year to take a little bit of financial burden off of them," she said. 

Credit: WBIR
Tammy Fugatt explains what order to put the clothes in the bags

The tote bags will go to the babies at their three-month checkup at East Tennessee's Children Hospital. They'll be full of clothes for the next year-and-a-half. 

"A lot of the families really don't have a lot as it is so they are having to decide clothing or food, diapers or food," she said. 

Second Chance needs new and like-new donations of clothes up to 18-months. Baby blankets, board books, and bibs are also appreciated, along with small stuffed animals to top off the bags. 

Credit: WBIR
A small stuffed animal or toy tops each gift bag

"After we got everything sorted out I thought it was really cool to actually pick out these children's outfits and know that they're going to have clothes to wear," volunteer Regan Portman said. 

Tammy Fugatt said, "This dream that I had is coming to fruition." 

It's her dream to give those children a Second Chance. 

The gift bags are a good fit for the Grow With Me Clinic at East Tennessee Children's Hospital. The clinic coordinates care for children who were exposed to drugs during their mothers' pregnancies.