(CBS 5) – What started as a one-time clothing drive has turned into a full time labor of love. Kate Kelly introduces the East Bay mom who is making sure other new mothers aren’t going without.
It’s not unusual for Lisa Klein to find bags of baby clothes on her front porch. It happens daily, ever since she first collected new and gently used baby clothing for victims of Hurricane Katrina.
“I sent one email out and within 4 days I received 200 pounds of baby clothes on my front porch!” Lisa remembers.
She quickly found she wasn’t the only new mom who wanted to pass along nice baby clothes, and realized she could fill the same need locally. So Lisa started “Loved Twice,” a non-profit she runs from her basement. That’s where she sorts, folds, and packages all the items a newborn would need in the first year.
“Each box has maybe 3 blankets, 10 pairs of pants, onesies, jackets,” Lisa explains. “When they leave the hospital they might go to a shelter or to a safe home, and they might just leave the hospital with nothing but a hospital-issued blanket, so they get a box from Loved Twice.”
Lisa and a network of volunteers help collect the clothes and distribute them weekly to over 30 local shelters, clinics, and safe houses.
She says she can hardly keep up with demand. “Even though I’ve given out 25-thousand pounds, these agencies want more than I physically have.”
One of the agencies in need is Brighter Beginnings of Richmond, where Natalie Berbick is Program Manager.
“300 families a year are using our resources,” Natalie says. “There aren’t enough words to express how impactful (Loved Twice) is for our families.”
It just takes a little bit of stress off a new mom’s first year,” Lisa adds.
To spread the word about Loved Twice, Lisa relies heavily on what she calls the “Mom’s Network” with other women’s blogs and news letters. And in several kid-friendly location, she set up collection bins for new and gently used clothing.
Lisa says, “I was a new mom at one point and I know how much you are going through, and I didn’t live in a shelter! I can only imagine what this really means to them and to know that I can help them with that is fantastic!”
So for creating a network of moms helping moms, this week’s Jefferson Award in the Bay Area goes to Lisa Klein.
Lisa’s dream is to move her operation out of her home basement to a dedicated space where volunteers could help streamline the distribution. She puts in 50 hours a week herself, funded in part with small grants which run out in June. Without more funding after that, she may have to shut her doors. To help, visit Loved Twice online: www.lovedtwice.org.