If you have young children, you likely have gear. Clothing, toys, highchairs, strollers, swings; all of which are items we feel fortunate to have as our babies morph into toddlers and children. Eventually, the day arrives when those items are no longer of use to our families, yet the question presents itself: what can I do with all of this wonderful clothing and equipment that looks practically new? A couple of years ago three inspiring moms confronted this issue over dinner and came up with a plan to put their baby gear and clothing to good use.
Friends for several years, Karis Jagger, Marnie Owens and Lee Michel began to research how best to execute their mission. Familiar with “Baby Buggy,” an established organization in New York that collects gently used baby gear and clothing and redistributes it to local charities, the friends decided to model their own organization with similar goals in Los Angeles. Thus, in 2006 Baby2Baby was born as a non-profit dedicated to improving the lives of impoverished families with children ages 0-4 years. Their inaugural drive was an appeal to local friends that resulted in three garages full of baby gear and clothing. After cleaning and taking inventory, they loaded the items into their own cars and drove them to three local organizations: Beyond Shelter, 1736 Family Crisis Center and St. Anne’s.
The amazing response they received from their community inspired these three moms to continue their crusade. They organized drives in several different local communities, expanded the network of agencies with which they were affiliated, and reached out to established baby gear and clothing companies in pursuit of donations and support. The passion Karis, Marnie and Lee feel about their cause was contagious, and the support they began to receive was proof that their work filled such a vital need.
Eventually, they outgrew their home garages and rented dedicated space in Los Angeles where they clean, organize and store their donations. Each month, representatives from the community agencies organize a pick up from Baby2Baby of the items they need, be it bassinettes, baby carriers or clothing. Baby2Baby even takes care to sort clothing by gender and age and wrap a small collection of outfits in brown craft paper decorated with a Baby2Babys logo sticker, to add a personal touch. They dedicate one full day per week and countless hours throughout each week to help Baby2Baby grow and thrive.
Karis, Marnie and Lee personify the concept of sensing a need and taking action to create a solution. Henry Ford once said: “You can’t build a reputation on what you say you are going to do”. So often we have great ideas but fail to bring them to life due to fear, lack of direction or limited resources. To date, these three mothers have donated 6,500 items to those in need, all the while raising six young children between them. When I interviewed Marnie for this article, she never mentioned the words: too busy, sacrifice or impossible. On the contrary, she offered thanks and gratitude to the sponsors and volunteers who help them make their organization a success.
I hope each of you who reads this will visit Baby2Baby’s website:
If you would like to help out or donate to items to this worthy cause you can drop off on Mondays 10:30-1:00pm at 5522 West Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, 90019
Also, these motivated moms could really use some help with drives, sorting and organizing. If you have time to help, please contact Karis by emailing: email@example.com