Like many people who heard about Hurricane Katrina’s devastating impact on the Gulf coast in 2005, new mom Lisa Klein felt moved to help. But being all the way in Oakland, California, made it a challenge—until Klein saw a post on Craigslist that a Louisiana church was looking for donations of baby clothes. She gathered the clothes that her then 1-year-old daughter had outgrown and sent an e-mail to her moms’ group asking them to do the same. To her surprise, she ended up with 200 pounds of clothing on her front porch in just four days. And the clothes kept coming. The day after she mailed the donations off, another 100 pounds piled up. “Moms I didn’t even know were dropping clothes off,” she says. She contacted a local hospital to see if they would take the goods and pass them on to moms in need—and Loved Twice was born. The organization officially received nonprofit status in 2009, and today, Loved Twice partners with social workers throughout the U.S. to provide local hospitals, clinics, shelters, and safe houses with clothing for babies in need. “A lot of these babies [living in poverty] have nothing,” says Klein. “And their parents have to decide between feeding their family and paying the rent, which are bigger issues than buying a new onesie. This way they can think about food, diapers, and shelter instead of clothing, and that feels great.” The process is simple: Parents send in or drop off their baby’s gently-worn clothes, sizes 0 to 12 months, at various locations. With those donations, Lisa and her team of volunteers put together what she calls “wardrobes-in-a-box”: Boys’ and girls’ designated boxes containing one year’s worth of newborn clothing, hats, bibs, and more—which are then given to the nonprofits’ social work partners. To date, Loved Twice has clothed more than 7,000 newborns, keeping more than 70,000 pounds of clothes out of landfills. For Rashawnda Lee, who works with families at Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland, California, the clothing Loved Twice provides can make all the difference in a family’s life. She’s worked with the nonprofit for three years and has seen first hand the impact it has. “The concept sounds so simplistic in nature,” she says. “But it’s so huge to these families that we serve, to be able to provide for their kids—it raises their confidence in raising their child. It reduces some of the anxiety and stress and allows them to really be present for their child.”
Want to help? Here’s how you can lend a hand:
Give: Drop off or mail gently-used baby clothes, sizes 0 to 12 months, to one of the locations listed on the organization’s website. They accept blankets, bibs, socks, hats, and board books. Host a drive: Start collecting your own clothes, then spread the word through friends, schools, local businesses, and social media. Enlist friends and family to help box up the items, then send them directly to Loved Twice. To learn more, or to donate, visit lovedtwice.org.