Our story by Anna
It Takes a Village, Baby began as a happy accident. While on maternity leave with my second baby, I would spend most mornings over a decaf latte at my local Starbucks. I watched for a few weeks as my young barista's belly grew, until I was certain she indeed had a baby-belly. When I asked how her pregnancy was going, whether she had everything she needed for the baby, I was met with the unmistakable look of a deer in headlights. Her response was one that I’ve now, unfortunately, heard dozens of times—she was lost, scared, confused, had no support and no clue what she needed for her baby.
This broke my heart and sent my mind whirling. As a mom, I know we all strive to provide the very best we can for our kids. We do whatever is in our power to make them feel happy, healthy and safe, even at the cost of our own wants and needs. That was the moment I decided it was within my power to help this mom-to-be the very same way that I had been helped when I was pregnant and broke with my first child (a co-worker gave me nearly everything I needed, including clothes that got us through the first two years of his life). I went home, rifled through baby gear I no longer needed and recruited two friends. Between the three of us we managed to set up our first new mom with pretty much everything she needed to give her baby a good start.
A couple of weeks later, my son had outgrown his baby swing so I put it up for sale for $5. A mom-to-be contacted me about it and I soon discovered she was coming from an hour away. As it turned out, she and her boyfriend lived in a rundown community and were in a terrible financial situation with no family support. They had barely scraped together any baby items and the mom-to-be was wearing oversized clothes held together with safety pins.
I told her I would pull together what I could and immediately turned to Facebook. I was quickly overwhelmed by the tremendous response from people willing to donate items. With my 4-year-old son in tow, I drove all over Loudoun County doing pick-ups at strangers’ homes. Like the Grinch on Christmas morning, I felt my heart grow with every item we collected. By the end of the day I had a minivan overloaded with baby and maternity gear, which we packed into baby shower gift bags and delivered the following weekend.
After giving her as much as my car could hold, I still had extra donated baby gear that needed to find new homes. At that moment I realized there is an untapped source of women happy to give their gently used baby items, and also a large gap to fill helping low-income and struggling moms. So, It Takes a Village, Baby was created to help direct the flow of used baby gear to the women and families in our community who need it most.