Moms Helping Moms Partners With Homeless Solutions of Morristown
By Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta
Moms Helping Moms Foundation, Inc., a non-profit charitable organization has been helping families who face financial distress help meet their babies’ basic needs.
Whether it’s providing access to essential baby supplies or connecting moms with a variety of services to support them during pregnancy and the first three years of parenthood, such as parenting support, child development education, financial literacy, and health and wellness.
When founded in 2011, the idea was that no baby should have to go without life’s basic needs.
Through partnerships with community organizations, schools, local government and others, Moms Helping Moms has collected and distributed tens of thousands of diapers, clothing, formula, nursing supplies, and countless other baby essentials to hundreds of families in New Jersey.
President and Founder Bridget Cutler started the organization “by accident” when she began collecting excess baby things her friends no longer needed. Cutler said, “I had a large network of friends with babies.”
With an assortment of baby products stored in her garage, Cutler began her organization. She said, “We’re like a food bank with diapers and babies.”
Six months ago Moms Helping Moms paired with Homeless Solutions, Inc., in Morristown, which began as Morris Shelter Inc. in 1983, created as a private, not-for-profit, tax-exempt organization. It expanded to Homeless Solutions, Inc. and provides shelter for homeless men, women and families.
Homeless Solutions sends Moms Helping Moms a “wish list” for women with children ages three and under. Then Moms Helping Moms is able to provide the organization with diapers, strollers, and clothing; filling in the gap of what food stamps don’t cover.
“You name it, we have it,” Cutler said. “With the exception of car seats and cribs; both have legal issues, we’d need to do thorough inspections.”
Moms Helping Moms recently obtained a $2,500 grant from National Diaper Bank Network. They were one of 29 national recipients of the inaugural Funds for Change grant. Cutler plans to use the money to re-organize their space, allowing for more inventory storage and to streamline their operational procedures.
Money is always the biggest challenge, according to Cutler. She said, “We’re a non-profit. We’re new. We don’t have experience with grant writing. Most of the money is private donations. We’ve gotten smaller grants here and there. We don’t have any full time employees on staff. It’s a constant work in progress.”
Time is another issue for Moms Helping Moms since most of the volunteers at the organization have children in pre-school or younger. Cutler said, “To find enough people to volunteer has been tricky. I work two full days per week. I have to get a sitter. We have a lot of fantastic volunteers: a volunteer bookkeeper, a volunteer coordinator; we would love to be open all the time, but at this time we don’t have the funds to pay somebody full time.”
Most of the operational work is done by Cutler and Megan Deaton, who works as secretary. On Jan. 29, they had their second annual Snow Ball fundraiser at Stone House at Stirling Ridge in Warren.
Since their first diaper distribution in 2011, Moms Helping Moms has helped provide close to 100,000 diapers, as well as other essential baby supplies, to hundreds of families in NJ.
For more information, visit: momshelpingmomsfoundation.org.