September 7, 2009

It's All About the Babies


Lisa Klein neatly packs baby booties, bibs and books in boutique style boxes labeled "Baby Boy" and "Baby Girl" every month with her two kids. But the cardboard boxes aren't for her children.

For the past two years, Lisa has packed more than 20,000 pounds of kids clothes for underprivileged newborns, through her non-profit LovedTwice.org, kids that would otherwise leave the hospital without the baby basics. There's enough clothing in the 10 pound boxes for the baby's first year. There are gently used onesies, socks and every box has 'something extra's such as diapers or a baby Bjorn.

"It's all about the babies," says the Oakland mother of two, "It's to keep them warm, clean and cozy no matter what's going on in their mothers' lives."

The boxes are delivered monthly to 11 county hospitals, shelters and prenatal clinics in her community. Lisa says she heard of a story from a nurse that brought her to tears,
"This 15-year-old girl was getting ready to leave the hospital and she asked the nurse if she could bring home the blanket, she didn't have anything to keep her baby warm."

The idea was born during one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history.

Lisa was moved after Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans. "We saw that people lost everything and were camping out in front of a church. My daughter and I wanted to help. We didn't know how. We went on the internet and on Craigslist. What struck me, was that they needed baby clothes, I had baby clothes."

That's when Lisa put two and two together and came up with LovedTwice.org.

Starting in her attic, where she pulled dusty boxes and bags full of baby items Loved Twice emerged. She then asked friends, family, neighbors and strangers to drop off their baby goods on her porch. What she wasn't prepared for was the outpouring of support from her community.

Thousands donated items, crowding her porch. The one-time clothing drive turned into this amazing non-profit. More than two years and two thousand boxes later, the busy mother of two says it was hard to keep her head above the mounds of baby items and wanted to close up shop.

Lisa knows how important the baby's first developing year is also how overwhelming caring for children can be. Adding to this was the massive responsibility of orchestrating a non-profit.

Lisa admits, "Last month, I had to take a step back. I came back from an extended vacation and there was 800 pounds of clothes waiting for me. I was like, I can't do this anymore. I've never thought that before... and within an hour of thinking that, I received a call from you."

"THANK YOU!"
She says with a smile.

That kept me going, and you in turn will help thousands of kids that will continue to get the baby boxes.

She explains, "then within that hour, a woman called me and said she and her coworkers wanted to volunteer and help pack."

Chills tingled through my body, because lately, I've been feeling over-whelmed too. I run a non-profit GoInspireGo.com and I teach full time at the Academy of Art in San Francisco and also one class at my alma mater, the University of San Francisco. Oh did I mention, I also produce online videos for local stores and companies and am in the process of writing a childrens book? And of course, I blog for The Huffington Post and believe it or not, I also try to have a life too.

I recently wanted to take a hiatus from my busy life. I was ready for a "Calgon take me away"–ok, not that dramatic (but you get the point.) I wanted to take a break and didn't know if I could continue my erratic to-bed-at-3am-and-up-at-5am schedule and still get all my work done. I began spending more time with my MacBook than with my family and friends.

It's amazing how timing and the world works–
–I inspired Lisa and she inadvertently returned the favor by uplifting my spirits. Now, underprivileged infants will continue receiving help through Loved Twice. It's almost miraculous in scope of how much goodness is coming out of this experience!

I guess it's true...
What you give to the world, you get back ten-fold.

So what I ask you is, what have you done to improve the life of someone else? If the answer is "I don't know," then GET CRACKIN'!

2 comments:

  1. Toan! Awesome! I love this story. It's amazing to see how you put it together. It gives me a good idea of where I am at, and what more I need to learn. Also, what Lisa is doing is so great. I think you really captured the heart of her organization as well as making it clear to viewers that this is something anyone could, and maybe even should do...

    see you in class!

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  2. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

    Lucy

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