When the weather heats up, kids get hungry. And no, we’re not just talking about working up an appetite while making sandcastles at the beach. According to Feeding America, one in six American children may not know where their next meal is coming from. Many students rely on government-subsidized lunch programs throughout the year so when school lets out for the summer, it strains low-income families who struggle to make ends meet.
Our monthly giving theme for July is “Healthy Summer,” and we’ve cooked up a great way to help! We’ve teamed up with Baby2Baby, a nonprofit that provides children under age 12 with diapers, clothing, and other basic necessities. Read on to learn more about what motivates Baby2Baby’s founders, as well as little-known facts about diapers, poverty, and how we all can make a difference.
Baby2Baby started out as a volunteer organization that partnered with local shelters in Los Angeles. But founders Kelly Sawyer Patricof and Norah Weinstein wanted to do more, so they hatched a plan to grow it into a large-scale operation.
1. Can you tell us a little bit about how Baby2Baby began?
Norah: Kelly and I approached the moms we volunteered with to ask if we could take the group over and expand it. They agreed, and seven years later, with the help of an unbelievable board of directors, angel investor group and staff, we’ve distributed 39 million items, including 22 million diapers to hundreds of thousands of children living in poverty throughout the country.
2. Did you always know you’d get diapers into the hands of new mamas? How did you decide what to focus on first?
Kelly: The thing that drives us is knowing one in three mothers in this country struggle to provide diapers for their babies. When you hear that statistic, or that mothers have to empty out their children’s diapers, hang them to dry, and put them back on their babies because they can’t afford more, it sticks with you. It’s the first thing we think about every day. The children we serve need and deserve all the basic essentials, but the number one item is always diapers because they’re so expensive.
“The thing that drives us is knowing one in three mothers in this country struggle to provide diapers for their babies.”
3. How do partnerships with other companies and organizations (like Thrive Market) help your work, and ultimately, help parents and kids?
Norah: We can’t function without corporate support. The community is so generous when it comes to gently used items, but it's corporations that allow us to distribute millions of items. Thrive Market is one of those! Last year’s donation of 1,000 boxes of food helped combat the "summer slide," a period when children in poverty go without meals because seasonal programs only provide food during the school year.
Donations are critical, but volunteerism is equally important. When Thrive Market employees came to our Baby2Baby warehouse to pack up donations last December, those donations immediately went to children in our program. Volunteers allow us to serve so many more children more efficiently, and also ties the organization to our mission which we believe is a win-win!
4. What’s something you wish people knew about the great need to support other families out there?
Kelly: People find it surprising that food stamps don’t cover diapers, and there’s very little government assistance with helping children in poverty get clean diapers. They also don’t realize that 14 percent of a low-income family’s post-tax income goes to diapers. We believe every child deserves access to diapers, clothing, hygiene items, and all basic essentials. When you give a Baby2Baby family these items, it truly gives them hope and relieves stress from the difficult situations they’re facing every day.
Norah: Food and baby essentials go hand-in-hand at Baby2Baby. When we give a family diapers, it allows them to put an extra meal back on the table, pay heating bills, and keep their lights on. It's that dire.
5. What’s the most rewarding part of your work?
Norah: Truly, every day is rewarding because the effects of distributing essential items to children in poverty is immediate. On a personal level, it’s been enormously rewarding to teach my own kids about giving back through this career. It's a part of everything we do as a family— from donating their backpacks when the school year ends to shopping for children at the holidays, or having lemonade stands and using the profits to buy diapers. Some of my favorite days are having our supporter kids come to Baby2Baby to donate gifts from their birthday parties, and watching them start to understand the value of giving back.
Kelly: Everything about it is rewarding. I always say that no donation is too small. When we receive one crib or one pack of diapers, we know that a child has a safe place to sleep or access to clean diapers, and every child deserves that. Of course, when our corporate partners give us millions of items for the children we serve, it’s rewarding on another level. But one donor can make a difference in the life of a Baby2Baby child, and that means so much.
Families Helping Families
This month, Thrive Market is allocating Spread the Health funds to Baby2Baby and its partner organizations. In total, we’ll be sending more than 65,000 of our very own diapers and wipes, plus 400 boxes of healthy snacks and meal staples.
But we’re not stopping there! On June 29, all Spread the Health donations collected at checkout will help purchase additional essentials like diapers, wipes, and food boxes for families with kids on summer break who’d normally have access to free meals at school.
How you can help:
- Fill your cart on ThriveMarket.com.
- Add a donation (any amount helps!) to our Spread the Health campaign during checkout.
- After placing your order, your donation will be passed along to Baby2Baby to purchase diapers, wipes, and food items.