Lisa Klein and Loved Twice: Starting Life with Compassion
A new mother finds room in her heart to help at-risk newborns.
It’s another busy day at a San Francisco Bay Area warehouse filled with volunteers sorting through mountains of baby clothes. Another box filled to the brim is sealed, labeled “Baby Boy,” and placed on a stack of similar boxes ready for delivery. Among the piles of baby garments, Lisa Klein can be found examining each article and lovingly divvies them up by size 0 through 12 months.
A Head Start in Life
Klein is the founder of this non-profit enterprise, Loved Twice, that collects and distributes donated baby clothes to help underprivileged newborns, giving them a better start in life. They collect gently used baby clothes that would otherwise end up in a landfill and pack them lovingly into a boy’s or girl’s wardrobe-in-a-box. Each box contains 75 items including socks, hats, pants, sleepwear, booties, bibs, books, and other items. Deliveries are made to social workers who hand out the boxes to desperate new mothers and guardians in local hospitals, shelters, and clinics.
It all started in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina made its devastating track through New Orleans. Klein wanted to help and while on Craig’s List, came across a church making a national plea for donations for 50 families who had lost everything in the destruction. They asked for basic need items like sleeping bags, flashlights, medicine, and baby clothes. As a new mother herself, Klein zeroed in on baby clothes and knew she could help.
Moved to Action
Belonging to a group for new mothers, Klein asked fellow moms to spread the word. In just four days, her front porch was loaded with 200 pounds of baby clothes. She sorted, boxed, and mailed them off to New Orleans. But the next day, more clothing was found on her porch. Realizing she could help her own community, Klein continued on what was to become a journey in helping tens of thousands of disadvantaged babies.
Klein formed Loved Twice in 2007 and operated it from her basement. With more clothes being donated and volunteers marching in and out of her home, Klein sought to get funding to continue operating and find a larger space. She needed a warehouse in an area where volunteer mothers could go safely. Her call to the community was answered with resounding support and she now has a full-fledged operation run by about a thousand volunteers per year.
Hardship Knows No Bounds
The organization serves newborns whose parents, usually single mothers, face extremely difficult challenges of homelessness, poverty, violence, and teen pregnancy. They may have no insurance, spent time in jail, or have mental issues, and many live in shelters. Klein says, “You’re going through so much when you have a child. But these women also have to worry about having the finances to feed the baby, buy diapers, and pay rent. We try to alleviate some of that stress, hoping it will give the mothers more time to bond with their babies.”
Klein and Loved Twice have been featured in numerous publications and news media. She’s also received multiple recognitions and awards such as a humanitarian award from Major League Baseball, Certificate of Recognition by a California Legislature Assembly, an award from Good News in Oakland, a Jefferson Award in the Bay Area, a Hometown Hero Award from Comcast, and was designated as the City of Oakland’s Mother of the Year.
Spreading the Love
According to the Twice Loved website, over 900,000 babies a year are born into poverty in the United States. Loved Twice’s goal is to reach out to each and every one of them helping to give them a start in life filled with warmth and hope. There are multiple ways people can help babies in need such as sponsoring a corporate volunteer event; donating clothes, time, and funds; hosting a baby clothing drive; and hosting a mini fundraiser. Loved Twice Clothing drop-off collection bins are located throughout communities at retailers, libraries, community centers, and other public places.
Loved Twice is making a deep impact in communities across the country. As people learn of her idea, they join in creating Loved Twice in their own communities. As of this writing, over 27,000 wardrobes-in-a-box have been delivered to babies in need. Over 2,000,000 garments weighing in at over 270,000 pounds and valued at over $7,000,000 have been distributed. The non-profit works with over 150 social service partnerships across the country.
“If I can alleviate just one of the stresses in a new mom’s life, I love being the person being able to do that.” Being reminded of actual lives she’s touched, she says, “It makes what we do more real. It motivates me to do more.” As long as the clothes keep coming, she’s driven to getting those to children who need them the most.
Learn more about Loved Twice, their programs, and how to get involved by visiting lovedtwice.org.