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October 7, 2011 > Loved Twice provides warmth and hope

Loved Twice provides warmth and hope

By Julie Grabowski

As the fall and winter months begin to creep in upon us with longer evenings, rainy days, and a chill in the air, there is an urge to get warm and cozy. For many this poses no big problem; there are plenty of comfy sweaters, fluffy socks, and blankets to choose from. But for some just entering the world, keeping covered and warm is an immediate and very real problem.

This is the heart of non-profit organization, Loved Twice, which collects new and gently used baby clothes 0-12 months for underprivileged newborns in the Bay Area.

The project got its start in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. As a new mom, Lisa Klein of Oakland was moved by an online appeal to gather clothes to send to the infant victims of the disaster. Donations kept coming even after the initial contributions were sent off. It was suggested she register as a non-profit organization and continue to collect clothes to donate to those in need in the local area.

Today, Loved Twice is going strong with 100 to 150 volunteers dedicated to this compassionate enterprise. Donated clothing is separated into girl and boy boxes and then distributed through licensed social workers in hospitals, shelters, and clinics to newborns in need. Boxes are prepared with enough items to clothe a baby for a full year, containing approximately 75 items sizes 0-12 months including newborn "onesies," sleepers, booties, hats, a blanket, and books, as well as an educational new parent kit supplied by First Five California.

"The babies didn't do anything to be born into a world of poverty," says Founder and Executive Director Klein, noting that mothers often have to choose between food or clothes for their babies. What Loved Twice does is alleviate stress for these mothers with the assurance that their precious little ones will be kept warm.

Google, Southwest Airlines, Wells Fargo, and Chevron have all sponsored clothes drives, and Klein says she's blown away by all the interest and help that Loved Twice has generated, claiming she does no outreach. "It's crazy," she says. "I'm amazed, quite amazed at the amount of clothes that come in."

Residents of the Tri-City area can help out when East Bay Spinal Decompression in Fremont sponsors a donation event October 10 through 14. Donations may be dropped off at their offices on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 8 a.m. to noon and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., and Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Bibs, booties, hats, blankets, and socks are accepted also. Please do not bring cribs, strollers, car seats, high chairs, or any baby furniture.

As a "Thank You," those who donate can receive discounted chiropractic services; all proceeds from these services will go to the Loved Twice organization. Those wishing to help are not limited by organized drives. There are six collection bins throughout the Bay Area, as well as "mail to" locations.

Klein says people tend to save baby clothes over those from other stages in their children's lives, many admitting they don't know why they were saving them. As babies don't tend to be rough on their clothes, outgrown items are in great condition, and baby clothes never really go out of style; cute yellow duckies are cute yellow duckies, no matter what the year may be.

Since its inception, Loved Twice has recycled 31,000 pounds of baby clothes back into the community, provided 4,000 babies with a full year of clothes, established partnerships with over 40 Bay Area social service agencies, and received over 300,000 essential garment donations with an estimated value of $700,000.

And that is just the beginning. One big goal shines above others. As all donations make their way into Klein's basement, she hopes to obtain a small warehouse in order to expand space and access. "I can literally double what we're doing easily," Klein says of what a warehouse location would provide. She acknowledges that so many moms out there want to help and that so much more could be done.

Despite their tremendous achievements, the need is also tremendous. "We have a waiting list of 50 Bay Area social service agencies that I can't help right now. Maybe there is a guardian angel out there..." hopes Klein. Their success rests on three simple needs: baby clothes, volunteers to set up their own clothing drives and sorting parties, and funds in order to help more babies.

What drives Klein's passion is simply explained. "I see the need out there. I hear stories of little babies who have no clothes; they're wearing their mom's T-shirt, tied at the bottom so their feet don't get cold." Over 900,000 babies will be born into poverty in the U.S. this year. Klein considers Loved Twice a simple solution; recycling clothes to keep them out of landfills and keeping babies warm.

Among honors, Loved Twice has been awarded include: 2011 Best of the Bay - Charity, 2011 National Make a Difference Day Award, 2011 Certificate of Congressional Recognition from Barbara Lee, 2010 Major League Baseball - All Stars Among Us, 2010 Good News in Oakland Award, and 2009 Certificate of Recognition from the California Legislature Assembly. Klein expresses her thanks to the doctors of East Bay Spinal Decompression, as well as to the numerous other business and people who champion outreach efforts. "I couldn't do it without them."

For more information on the clothes drive call (510) 790-1000. To learn more about Loved Twice visit www.lovedtwice.org.

Loved Twice clothing drive
Monday, October 10 - Friday, October 14
Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 8 a.m. to noon and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Tuesday and Thursday: 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
East Bay Spinal Decompression
40000 Fremont Blvd. Ste. H, Fremont
(510) 790-1000
www.lovedtwice.org

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