Collecting Baby Clothes for the Needy: Lisa Klein

Photographed by Lori Stoll Our hero: Lisa Klein, 42 Where she lives: Oakland, California How she helps: Collects baby clothes

Lisa KleinPhotographed by Lori Stoll

Our hero: Lisa Klein, 42

Where she lives: Oakland, California

How she helps: Collects baby clothes

Lisa Klein spends much of her time surrounded by mountains of brightly colored baby clothes, folding tiny T-shirts. For most parents, this is pretty routine, but Klein has a larger purpose: She’s getting infant clothing to mothers in need.

She was inspired a few days after Hurricane Katrina, when she read that a Louisiana church was asking for baby clothes for displaced families camped out on the church’s front lawn. “I instantly knew I’d found a way to help,” Klein says. She pulled together all the boxed-up outfits that her daughter, then one, had outgrown, and spread the word to a handful of friends. Within days, 200 pounds of onesies, booties, caps, sweaters, and other little items were piled up on her porch, ready to be shipped to New Orleans. Klein thought, If that’s what I can do in four days with a few friends, what if I really put my mind to it?

Not long after her second child was born, in 2007, Klein started the nonprofit group Loved Twice to collect donations of gently used baby clothes for distribution to hospitals, prenatal-care clinics, and shelters in the San Francisco Bay Area. “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.”

Now Loved Twice supplies baby clothes to 40 social service agencies assisting new mothers. Fifty more want to sign up. The group’s six collection bins fill up quickly, landing roughly 1,000 pounds of clothing in Klein’s basement every month. “My husband has been very tolerant!” she says with a laugh.

Volunteers sort the garments into boxes, each of which holds 75 items of clothing, sizes zero to 12 months, along with kid’s books and tips on child-care resources. To date, Klein’s group has sorted and delivered over 28,000 pounds of clothing to newborns in need—and the clothes keep on coming, she says. Her dream is to raise enough money to rent a warehouse as a headquarters, allowing her to handle even larger amounts of clothing and more volunteers.

“I’m so happy to be able to spread awareness,” she says. “These babies deserve to be warm and clean.”

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