Earlier this month, Salt & Nectar introduced some of LA’s talented mom bloggers to one of its favorite local charities Baby2Baby at the first-ever Blogger2Baby event to kick off a summer of giving.
For those of you who live outside of Southern California or aren’t familiar with the charity, let me take a moment to share with you about Baby2Baby’s crucial mission. The organization supplies families in need with essential baby gear and clothing for their children up to age 12. By distributing new and gently used items to over 40 non-profit partner organizations, Baby2Baby reaches over 50,000 children per year. Thanks to donations from families like yours and pledges from corporate donors Huggies and Million Dollar Baby, Baby2Baby will distribute over 1 million diapers over the next year and 2,013 cribs by 2013. Many of the children Baby2Baby serves are at risk of entering the foster care system because they don’t have a safe place to sleep at home. Other families they work with are struggling with the burden of choosing between food and diapers, escaping domestic violence, or overcoming homelessness and leave all of their day-to-day items behind to come to a shelter. Baby2Baby helps these families stay together for the well being of their children.
While Baby2Baby’s mission is motivation enough, two things also inspired my decision to organize the event.
The first: The community aspect of blogging. When I left law firm life in DC in favor of being a stay- and then work-at home mom in LA, I naturally didn’t quite feel like myself as I made this transition. And it was through the connections I made and the support I received through this virtual community that I found my footing faster. Then and now, other bloggers’ words, storytelling, confessionals, advocacy, and causes near and dear to their hearts inspire me. Their work—like a virtual hug, sage advice, or a reminder that I am not failing miserably as a mom—encourages me to be a better writer, person, and parent; sparks me to think about things differently; and moves me to give back to this online tribe and share what inspires me too.
The second: The now famous (and rightly so) documentary Caine’s Arcade. Not only is Caine’s story and dedication to his visionary cardboard arcade inspirational, but filmmaker Nirvan’s success at using social media to raise six figures for Caine’s college scholarship fund and a foundation in a week is simply amazing. Watching Caine’s story go viral and bring together a community of strangers to support innovative children and their dreams made me realize how impactful bloggers can by using our platforms to raise social awareness and hopefully inspire philanthropy.
With these two things in mind, I thought it great to connect our virtual community with real community organizations to learn about causes impacting our city and its families, spread the good word, and encourage a summer of giving. And, as Courtney Lewis of Santa Monica Macaroni Kid pointed out to me, just like it’s great to get out from behind our computer screens to put faces to names, it’s great to really get to know about a charity and its mission in person.
During our time at Baby2Baby, co-president Norah Weinstein and Program Director Jacqui Khastoo shared about the charity’s beginnings and how it’s steadily grown to serve the city, that they are always in need of diapers and umbrella strollers (the latter because many moms rely on buses to get to and from work), and that any donation big or small makes a difference. The Los Angeles Child Guidance Clinic and Prototypes also shared how the items they receive from Baby2Baby positively impacts their client’s lives, reminding me how much I take for granted, how much an item like a bouncer can bring a single mother of three relief so she can have a safe place for her baby when caring for her older children and home, and how much the social programs need such donations to support their mission of helping families stay on their feet as they work to overcome the barriers, challenges, and injustices they face.
If you’re like us and find that you have clothes or gear that your child outgrew in a nanosecond, believe in green living and want to encourage reuse, or want to participate in the cycle of giving, we encourage you to donate to Baby2Baby or find a nearby drop-off location. We also think volunteering with your children or friends to prepare donations and care packages with everyday essentials from soap to socks for families in need makes a great summer activity. And if you live afar but would like to get involved, you can make an online donation, organize a virtual drive or baby shower, or find a similar charity in your hometown.
We hope you’re inspired to join us in a summer of giving, either here, in your hometown, and for a cause that is close to your heart. (Please feel free to grab the badge from our sidebar if you'd like to rasie awareness and support Baby2Baby's efforts.)
To read about other bloggers's experiences at Blogger2Baby, visit Silver Lake Mom.
~ The Other Sarah