Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Baby2Baby: Los Angeles Moms Help Local Families

Marnie Owens, left, and Karis Jagger launched Baby2Baby in 2006.

In 2006, after amassing more children's clothes, toys and other gear than they could use, Los Angeles moms Karis Jagger, Marnie Owens and Lee Michel decided it would be a great idea to give back to other moms in the community.

The problem was, there wasn't an organization in L.A. that accepted baby items exclusively.

That year, Baby2Baby was born.

Baby2Baby is a charitable organization that collects gently used necessities for little Angelenos up to 4 years old and distributes them through other community-based organizations.

I had the opportunity to speak with Karis Jagger (yes, daughter of Mick), who has two children ages 8 and 5. Not only did she talk about her own experience with community service but also Baby2Baby's spring fundraiser and their goal of raising $50,000 to cover next year's operating costs. (Click here to donate.)

After approaching New York-based Baby Buggy about launching an L.A. outpost and being told the charitable organization had no plans to expand, Jagger, Owens and Michel started planning their own local outlet.

"From there, we just started asking friends for donations," Jagger said, "and we collected all the stuff in our garages, and then we would drive it to these organizations."

But packing the car full of baby items and driving back and forth to various organizations downtown proved to be a huge challenge.

"After we did that for a little bit, we decided that that was kind of insane," she said.

"I think people are really into their communities here, and it was nice for people to come and drop stuff off at our houses," Jagger said, "but we realized it wasn’t in the end the most convenient thing for us.

"And literally I would come home from picking up the kids, and there would be like 40 garbage bags full of stuff. And my husband was like, 'This has got to stop.' "

After trying out a storage space, they opened a storefront on Pico (between Fairfax and La Brea), a convenient location where people could drop off their items that would also be accessible to the downtown organizations.

What is Baby2Baby looking for?

  • Strollers
  • Cribs and crib mattresses
  • High chairs
  • Car seats
  • Pack and plays

Although CC is still too young to fully understand the concept of giving back to those in need, I actually think it's never too early to start teaching kids to do just that.

So last week, I gathered up a bunch of her little onesies and baby outfits that were still in great condition (no stains, rips, etc.), and we drove over to Pumpkinheads, an adorable children's shop in Brentwood that also serves as a drop-off spot for Baby2Baby.

"Is that for babies?" CC asked about her own little clothing she had outgrown a couple of years ago.

"Yes," I told her, admittedly a little wistful at handing over clothes my growing child used to wear. "It's for babies who need them."

Jagger agrees that it's a good idea to get children started early on the idea of giving back.

"With my kids," she said, "there's always a Baby2Baby bag in the front closet. If you're done with a book, or if you've outgrown the puzzle, you can put it in there and pass it on. If your shoes don't fit anymore, put them in the bag."

5522 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90019
323-933-BABY (2229)

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