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This Dirty, Rotten World Nationally, the infant mortality average is just 8 deaths per 1,000 live births. In parts of D.C., on the other hand, it is far higher: Ward 6, for instance, sees 16 deaths per 1,000 live births, according to the nonprofit Healthy Babies Project. Which is one of the reasons why people give to nonprofits helping pregnant women. Over the past few months, Healthy Babies Project’s Benning Road NE drop-in center has staged a Christmas-gift drive for the approximately 100 pregnant mothers and children enrolled in the program’s array of prenatal and infant-care services. “We didn’t really have to collect any more for Christmas,” says Healthy Babies Project spokesperson Angela Dixon-Van Croft. Until a staff member happened to check upon the stash two Thursdays ago. The storage room was empty. “We had collected cosmetics and hair-care products for the mothers and toys for the babies,” says Dixon-Van Croft. “The gifts were probably worth $2,500 to $3,000.” Police have no leads on the case at this point, she adds.

Reporting by Laura Lang, Michael Schaffer, and Elissa Silverman.

#Please send your City Desk tips to Elissa Silverman at esilverman@washcp.com or call 332-2100 and ask for my voice mail.