Community

Creating a Better Breast Pump

Motherhood can be such a joyful experience. The breast pumps that go along with motherhood are quite the opposite. In fact, I’ve never met a mom who didn’t loathe her breast pump. As a mom to three young boys, pumping was a constant struggle for me as well; it was loud, painful, and so clunky that it made it a hassle to lug it around. Plus, when I returned to work full-time, I couldn’t find a pump that could easily facilitate pumping outside of the home. I often found myself wondering how everything else around me was improving and becoming more technologically advanced, but the one device that millions of women rely on was stuck in the archaic design of the mid-nineteenth century. Shouldn’t it be better than this by now? 

I relayed my frustrations to my husband, Jeff, who is an engineer. One night, he took apart my breast pump in the garage, looked at how it was constructed, and realized things could be built in a better way—a much better way, actually. Jeff was limited with the improvements he could make that night because the breast pump’s technology uses outdated technology. If we were going to make an efficient pump that is also comfortable and well designed, we needed to start from scratch. We started by redesigning the breast pump from the inside out. As a result, Naya is completely unique in its mechanics and makes pumping feel more like nursing a baby, rather than a painful, loud machine. The difference is that it uses a hydraulic, water-based system, which leads to a much more comfortable and quiet pumping experience. We also went a step further to incorporate smart technology into the pump that automatically tracks pumping sessions and the amount of milk expressed. It then takes this information and sends it to the Naya smartphone app along with expert tips for moms. My goal was to give mothers one less thing to have to keep track of. 

Traditional pumps I had used were bulky, making it a burden to haul it around outside of the home. That’s why with Naya, I wanted the design to be sleek and compact. There are fewer parts to store (or misplace!) because of the pump design, and when it’s all packed up, one can’t tell that it is even a breast pump because of the stylish design.

Lastly, I’ve been grateful to have the support of an expert advisory health and tech team. It’s what makes Naya Health possible. I work with a group of renowned physicians, lactation experts, and healthcare technologists who have joined me on this journey to help moms.  

We believe that all mothers deserve better, smarter, and more supportive solutions. In the months and years ahead, we look forward to introducing more products that make their lives easier and more pleasant. 

Janica Alvarez

CEO Naya Health and Mom of 3

Naya Health is a sponsor of the 2016 Let Good Grow Tea.

Annual Tea: ScholarShare helps parents take the first steps

It seems that every time I turn around, there is another story on the news about college tuition prices going up, or on student loans reaching the trillion dollar mark. I, myself, am one of those who have more student debt than I care to admit. That’s why, if and when my daughter decides to go to college, I want to make sure we have a plan.

This year, we were delighted to have ScholarShare’s support as a Tea Stand Sponsor at our Annual Benefit Tea held on April 25th in San Francisco. We are excited to be partnering with ScholarShare – not only are we happy to get the word out to our supporters about the importance of saving for college, but we, too, have been inspired by talking with Garianne Dashiell, a TIAA-CREF consultant. True story – after talking with Garianne, both Lisa and Anna are ready to sign up!

 

I (Anna) was fortunate enough to spend some time talking with Garianne before the Tea. Full disclosure: I was a little intimidated about talking to an investment consultant. I’m no pro when it comes to money management, and I’m certainly out of my element when it comes to investing. But Garianne said this is one of the best parts of her job: helping to break down the misconceptions parents have about investing for college.

“As the mom of a college freshman, I know what it feels like to wonder where the money for college is going to come from,” said Garianne. That’s one of the reasons she does what she does: it feels important to her to get the word out to as many parents as she can that planning is possible and it’s relatively easy.

TIAA-CREF Consultant Garianne Dashiell

How easy, you ask? Color me surprised: To open a 529 account, all you need is $25. *That’s it.* That’s less than a week’s worth of my morning coffee indulgence. That’s less than half a tank of gas. That’s a dinner out with a friend.

That’s pretty easy.

And that’s all you need each month – a minimum of $25 to put towards your child’s college education. I’m not saying I don’t love my morning coffee, but when I weigh it against my daughter’s education? Well, college wins every time.

Another great feature of the ScholarShare plan is that other people can gift into it. Grandparents or aunts and uncles or friends can choose to contribute to your child’s 529 in lieu of gifting your household with tiny plastic toys that you step on in your bare feet. (Legos hurt, AmIRite?) Garianne told me the story of a baby she knew whose young, getting-on-their-feet parents asked for 529 contributions for his first birthday, rather than gifts. When all was said and done, that toddler had over $1000 to invest in his college education. By the time he was one! That’s impressive stuff.

Thanks so much to Garianne and ScholarShare for investing in Help a Mother Out, so that we can continue empowering moms through our life changing diaper program.

If you’re interested in learning more about ScholarShare, you can check out their website at scholarshare.com. And be sure to note that this coming May 29th is 529 Day, and Scholarshare will match your $50 contribution to a new Scholarshare account with $50 of their own. Or, if you want to talk to Garianne, she says “Call me! I’d love to chat. You can reach me 415-882-3626 or gdashiell@tiaa-cref.org.”

Thank You Safeway – Mom to Mom

Earlier this Spring, we had the wonderful opportunity to be introduced to the good folks at Safeway, Inc. and their in-store Mom to Mom brand. When they heard about our work getting diapers to low income families, they made a very generous offer to send an amazing 30,000 diapers (that’s 5 pallets) to our Santa Clara warehouse. Not only did they send diapers, but they sent volunteers to help us at our monthly sorting and distribution day.

Pictured above: Safeway, Inc. employees volunteering at our Santa Clara warehouse in April.

We are especially grateful, as the Mom to Mom diapers came during a typically low volume month. What’s more, we received our most needed sizes (3-4-5). Special thanks to Cindy, Danielle, Christy, Chris and Valerie for your efforts in connecting the dots, helping to facilitate this donation and for volunteering.

p.s. To bring even more awesome, the in kind donation from Safeway Inc., coincided with a generous $1,000 grant award made by Safeway Foundation’s corporate employee giving fund. The grant will be put towards bulk procurement of diapers that will ultimately benefit low income families in the Bay Area region.

Clara

We shared “Clara’s” story, as told by her case manager, La Tanya, at our annual event in March. Her name and some details of her story are changed for privacy.

Good morning. My name is LaTanya. I’m a case manager at the CVC. Since my son Eli was born, the idea of running out of diapers horrifies me, and makes me grateful for programs like Help A Mother Out. Every time I purchase diapers for Eli, I think about all the moms who can’t afford to do the same.

For the last 14 years I have worked directly with homeless families, and I know that access to diapers can make food, medicine and shelter possible for low-income families. Until started working at CVC I had never heard of programs that donate diapers and always daydreamed with coworkers that one day we’d be able to provide them. Help A Mother Out made my dreams a reality.

Today I’m here to tell you about one mom and her family: Clara and her two sons. Andre is her youngest son. He is 7 years old and has autism. Matthew is her oldest son who is 17 years old. He is about to graduate from high school and has dreams of going to college.

I met Clara a few months ago, after Help A Mother Out connected her with me. When I called Clara, she was crying. She explained to me that she was a single mom, working as a part time medical clerk, and she was having an especially hard time. Andre has autism. He has no verbal skills and hasn’t retained any sign language. So potty training has been extremely difficult for her. She kept apologizing to me over the phone for needing help.

That day I talked to her three times. It became clear to me early on that Clara was extremely isolated, and did not know about resources were available to her family. The more I talked to her, the more I felt helpless.  So many women like Clara get lost, because they don’t know about resources that could help.

I told Clara about MediCAL – because Andre is an older child with special needs, she could ask his doctor about prescription for diapers. She told me that Andre hasn’t been to see a doctor in awhile. We agreed that she would come into see me.

On the day she came to see me, the first thing I did before conducting a needs assessment interview, was give her diapers for Andre. She wasn’t expecting the help and seemed really shocked and kept saying “god bless you, thank you for helping me.” She cried uncontrollably. She could not believe that someone was helping her family.

Clara seemed worn down from taking care of her son with virtually no help. It was clear to me that she was a loving mother, but at her wits end with caring for Andre. She was under an incredible amount of emotional stress. As he has grown older, Andre has become more difficult to care for. The few relatives they have in the area have abandoned them. Clara, Andre and her older son Matthew are now homeless. They live in a friend’s garage.

After our first visit, I walked Clara and Andre to their car. After Andre was settled, Clara turned to me and gave me one of the longest hugs I’ve received in my life. It seemed to last for 20 minutes. It was the kind of hug where you literally feel the raw emotions and sadness from the other person, but also the kind of hug that there was hope. I became overwhelmed with emotion knowing that with Help A Mother Out, I could have this kind of impact on a family.

I think that even if I had just given her 4 diapers she would have been just as thankful. She kept saying thank you. God bless you. I’m so glad that I met you. I am shaken from the experience. Being able to help her that day gave me confirmation that I am in the right profession.

If Clara were here today, she would tell you that she came to me for diaper help, but that these diapers from Help A Mother Out ended up bringing the help and resources she desperately needed. Today Clara, Andre and Matthew are still living in that garage. Andre is in the process of getting enrolled in occupational therapy and he is scheduled to see a doctor for the first time in years. It’s going to be a long road for them but we are in the process of getting them the help they need and deserve – and we have the diapers to thank for starting this journey.

I’m here to tell you that diapers DO change lives and I’m really honored to be part of this program that truly makes a difference. I hope you will be too.

Thank you.

 

* “Clara” image via Babble.com

Shop Mother’s Day @ Trina Turk, Burlingame

We are very excited to announce that Trina Turk’s Burlingame store will be holding a Mother’s Day shopping event to help raise awareness and much needed funds for our program. Thank you to Aimee Linhoff, Dana Griffin and everyone at Trina Turk for organizing this wonderful opportunity for the community to give back!

Here are the details:


  • 10 am to 6 pm Friday May 9th and Saturday May 10th, 1223 Burlingame Ave, Burlingame, CA 94010, phone (650) 340-8540

  • 15% of all sales will benefit HAMO.

  • Lite bites and bubbles served all day, both days

  • Please tell your friends!

Bay Area: 4th Annual Benefit Tea – March 22nd

BAY AREA – HELP A MOTHER OUT

Invites you to a morning of food and friendship…

4th ANNUAL BENEFIT TEA

Emcee ~ Kristen Sze, ABC7 News Anchor

Community Impact Honoree: Earth Baby the Compostable Diaper Service

Saturday, March 22, 2014

10am – Noon 

Mark Hopkins Intercontinental

San Francisco, CA

{Babes in arms are welcome!}

 

For sponsorship opportunities or to RSVP, contact:

anna@helpamotherout.org or 415-938-6667

New Diaper Drop Bin in Southern California

In the sprawling metropolis of Los Angeles, we have placed a new drop bin at the Play Destination in Agoura Hills. Now there is another place where you can take those diapers that don’t fit your baby, or diapers and new wipes that you have collected to help needy families in our area.

The Play Destination is a spacious indoor playground for children 6 and under with ample comfortable seating for parents. I’ve gone there with my own children on those super-hot summer days when outdoor play can actually be hazardous. The kids love the variety of activities they can choose from – toys, climbing, air hockey, and even a bounce house.

The Play Destination also hosts private parties and offers educational classes for families.

Our newly minted diaper drop bin is right inside the front doors. The Play Destination is located on Canwood in Agoura Hills near Sit’N’Sleep.

The Play Destination

28501 Canwood Street, Suite 3E
Agoura Hills, CA 91301
(818) 292-8644

Curt’s Story: In Honor of Father’s Day

In honor of Father’s Day, we want to share a moving testimonial from a father.

Curt’s story was highlighted at our annual Let Good Grow event by Phoebe Rubin. Phoebe is a volunteer at our partner agency, the Bayview Mission, a ministry of Grace Cathederal in San Francisco.

Here is what Phoebe shared with us:

I am a mother and the idea of running out of diapers horrifies me. That’s why I’ve volunteered at the baby ministry at Bayview Mission in San Francisco for the last four years.

I’ve given out diapers hundreds of diapers to families, and I know that access to diapers can mean the difference between having food, medicine and shelter—and not having those things.

I’m want to tell you about one family in particular. Curt is in his early 40’s and takes care of his baby Mia full time. Before his accident, Curt was a college-educated artist who made large metal sculptures and did construction work to pay the bills. Not anymore. Curt’s leg was badly injured when he fell from a 3rd story window at work. Surgery on Curt’s leg was botched, and his request for a second surgery was denied. Now, walking is a challenge for Curt. He lives on disability. One of the few times he goes out each week is when he comes to the ministry to pick up diapers and baby food for Mia.

Knowing Curt has made me grateful for my health, and the health of my family. That’s because Curt told me: that he never, in all of his life, dreamed that he would lose his health.  Curt grew up in a middle-class family. He never imagined himself disabled, needing help, instead of working and creating his art.  I bet many of you can hardly imagine that either.

About 3.5 years ago, Help a Mother Out started bringing diapers to our ministry. To us volunteers, being able to help families like Curt’s felt like winning the lottery. I have to admit that I look forward to seeing Curt roll up in his car each week with Mia.  He is such a well-informed and fun person. Every week I learn something new from him about local politics or current events.

Curt would say that diapers from Help a Mother Out have made it possible for him to buy things his family could not survive without. Instead of worrying about how to buy diapers, Curt can concentrate on parenting Mia. And that investment is paying off big time. Mia is a happy well taken care of baby.

Because of HAMO, Curt can do what he needs to do for his family—and his own health–rather than worrying about diapers. One day a few weeks back, after providing diapers for Curt dozens of times, there was a day when we ran out. The need is so enormous that, even though HAMO works around the clock, they can’t always provide diapers for every baby. I had to go out to Curt’s car and turn him away. He took the news calmly, but I wondered what was going through his mind, facing the week without HAMO’s help.  As I turned to go back inside, my heart felt heavy.  At that moment, it struck me what an enormous thing a diaper really is, and what a difference it can make in a life.  I’m happy to say that I gave Curt a bundle of diapers this week, thanks to HAMO.  Curt thanked me, and I thank HAMO for making lives like Curt’s, and his baby Mia’s, easier.

Curt’s story reminds us to be grateful for what we do have while encouraging us to remember that there are those who encounter unexpectedly difficult challenges in life.

As you honor the fathers in your life, we want to thank you for all that you do for dads like Curt.

How will you celebrate Father’s Day?

When Everyone Does Something – the 3rd Annual Let Good Grow Benefit Te

 

The 3rd Annual Benefit Tea in support of Help a Mother Out happened on Saturday, May 11, at the Mark Hopkins Intercontinental Hotel on Nob Hill in San Francisco. It was a beautiful spring day with just a touch of fog left clinging to the edges of the amazing view from The Top of the Mark – the restaurant on the highest floor of the hotel that welcomes visitors to glimpse out the windows for a photo op.

But the best view of all was the sea of faces of the guests gathered around the tables in the Peacock Room where HAMO supporters showed up in person to enjoy each other’s company and listen to how they have helped the mission grow, and how they can continue to do so. The program, emceed by KABC 7’s Kristen Sze, opened with Kirsten Patel reading a piece called “The Club,” an excerpt from the Listen To Your Mother show that partnered with HAMO for a productive and beneficial Mother’s Day weekend.

Time to eat and sip some tea followed, with mingling and chatting and meeting new people.

Our table hosts created lovely table decorations and favors

The program continued with testimonials from HAMO beneficiaries via the new documentary featuring three brave women – Jasmine, Kim, and Abaynesh – and a speech from a worker at a partner shelter. Co-founder and executive director Lisa Truong spoke about guilt, and how government agencies routinely call her for diapers because HAMO is one of the only games in town when it comes to family support for diapers. And then HAMO board member Catherine Hazelton, visibly pregnant and a picture of motherhood, introduced the pledge cards and the newest way of supporting HAMO, the multi-year angel. Donors can now select to give one, five, or ten thousand dollars a year for five years – a wonderful option especially if there is an employer who gives matching funds.

Several amazing guests at the tea stood up to announce their intent to donate at one of those levels. In the end, the pledges bested last year’s total, and got us nearly half way to our 2013 fundraising goal! At this rate, we’re moving from “shoestring to sustainability,” which will allow us to help more people.

The most powerful thing about the tea was that all those people came, donated at whatever level they chose, and took away the power of the mission.

Let good grow.

Thank you to our event volunteers from partner agency WDDC, as well as our event sponsors including Alyssa Brennan, Clover by Clover, Earth Baby, Lucy’s Cookies, KidsintheHouse.com,  Plum Organics, UrbanSitter.com, and Skincare by Feleciai.

Strangers Helping Strangers with Diapers

A kind act happened recently at a Walmart in Loveland.

While a young couple was counting their money to see if they had enough to pay for diapers for their young daughter, another couple who were strangers offered to pay for them. The strangers paid for the diapers and everything in the cart, explaining that people have helped them and they were just paying it forward.

This random act of kindness and help from strangers prompted the young couple to share this story with the local news in hopes of spreading the word. A simple gesture can mean so much to other people, so let’s pay it forward!

Have you paid it forward? Or experienced a pay it forward moment?

Diaper Stories: School Kicks Off Diaper Drive With a Jingle

Candeo School in Phoenix, Arizona recently kicked off a school-wide diaper drive.  They support their local agency, Baby Diaper Drive, which holds an annual effort with the goal of collect 200,000 diapers and money to fund an emergency diaper stash for Homeward Bound, which supports underemployed and homeless parents and children. Local schools compete to see which one can collect the most diapers, and the one that wins gets a prize!

With a little bit of elbow grease and a school community full of eager kids and parents, this diaper drive will help BDD reach their goal in no time! The best part of their kickoff event, below, is at 2:10, when the whole school sings their little diaper drive jingle.

Help Send Diapers To Hurricane Sandy Victims

Lots of people have been asking us how they can help families with babies and toddlers in the North East who may be running out of clean diapers after Hurricane Sandy.  Now we have something we can recommend.

Diapers.com has partnered with nonprofits on the ground in the area like The American Red Cross and the Jersey Humane Society to send supplies to the hardest hit families.  You can help by sending financial donations through a specific section of their site, diapers.com/sandy.  Select a dollar amount, and that money will be used to buy essentials like diapers, baby food, formula, and clothing for families in storm-ravaged areas.  There is no shipping fee.

Remember, you might not be able to do everything.  But you can do something.  And every little bit helps.

San Diego: Bayside Community Center

The other day our friends Alicia and Xavier volunteered and dropped off a truckload of diapers (3276 diapers, 15 cases) at Bayside Community Center. We were able to get these to Bayside’s families because ACOG hosted a their virtual diaper drive at their conference in San Diego, in addition to Alicia and Xavier’s local efforts.

We will be sending another special delivery to Bayside in the near future. Thanks San Diego andACOG! 

We are always in need of groups to partner with in order to further our mission. Please contact us info (at) helpamotherout (dotorg) if you are interested to helping.

Do Good During the Holidays: Host a Drive

Hey folks, so the holidays are just around the corner and like every other non profit enterprise, it’s a crucial season for us. If you have been thinking about doing some good this year, now is the time for you to take action and help a mother out!

Why do we need help?

We are a small, bootstrapping grassroots organization that makes the use of every resource we are given. Since starting the organization we have always said that our success depends on the strength of caring people and their desire to build a healthy community. We choose to partner with the best organizations to get our diapers to families in need. Because of our close working relationships with our partners we know that our diapers serve the community as a hand up. Whether it is a newly homeless mom, a child in the foster care system, or parents in between paychecks, we want to be there for them and we know many in the community want to be as well.

This year has been our most demanding year.  Here are just two notes we have received from moms who have been helped by caring people like you:

“Your diapers help a lot. Because if I get the extra diapers I’ll be able to get milk and other things my baby needs. I don’t know what I’d do without this extra help.” ~ Tyronay, mom of 3 week old baby boy

“Yes, right now I’m trying to figure out how I’m gonna pay for fingerprints for a job, and my diapers. If I pay for fingerprints I might not be able to buy diapers when needed. And if I don’t I won’t get the job.” ~ Dorian, homeless mom of 1

If you are interested in hosting a drive please drop us a line and we can give you more ideas on making your drive a success. info (at) helpamotherout (dotorg).

Hosting a diaper drive is super easy.

Below are some tips to help you get started. In addition to the following ideas, check out our diaper drive toolkit that is full of inspiration.

1) Set a date for your drive. If you are hosting a holiday gathering, you already have your date. If you are hosting a drive at your workplace, school, or place of worship, we recommend holding your drive for at least 2 weeks to one month.

2) Promote your drive. If your drive is for a holiday party, include the drive information in your invitation. As well, send a reminder a day or two before your event. If you are hosting a drive at your workplace, school, or place of worship get the word out in any way possible: create a flier (we have one you can use), posters, cold calling, email blasts, social networks. Be sure to include the details like: dates, locations, and purpose of the drive.

3) Organize your diapers. If you’d like to report back a diaper count tally, count the diapers by the quantity in each pack/case.

4) Remember to take a photo of your efforts to share with everyone who contributes to your efforts! We also LOVE sharing photos with our community and in our newsletter – PLEASE send a photo to us: info (at) helpamotherout (dotorg)

5) Send them away! Bay Area and Los Angeles folks, we have a number of drop bin locations where you can drop off the diapers. If you think your diaper haul needs more coordination (e.g., you collect over 3K diapers. BAM!) then please contact us for help coordinating a drop off.

6)  Say thank you! Use the photo that you took and report back to everyone who contributed to your drive. If you held a holiday gathering, simply email your guests and thank them for coming and be sure include your photo and drive results. If your drive was with a community group, share it in your next newsletter or post it on the Facebook page.

Have you ever hosted a donation drive? What made it successful?

KinderCycle in the 510

 

About a year and a half ago we were contacted by a new mom, Jennifer, who recently started up a parent-driven venture called KinderCycle. What is Kindercycle? Jennifer and her crew host children’s clothing swaps, mostly in the East Bay. During their swaps, they collect diapers on behalf of our families.

We’re so grateful for this partnership and simply LOVE what KinderCycle is all about: a resource for moms sharing the abundance, building community, and helping others in a fun way. If you are local, please check them out and send your new(ish) moms to one of their swaps. And remember to donate diapers!

It takes a village, ya’ll! We’re always looking for community groups like KinderCycle to partner with. If your group is interested in learning more about diaper need, hosting a diaper drive or giving back to the community in other ways, please connect with us. 

Next Warehouse Day: October 26th

We’ve been quiet here on the old blog, chiefly because we’ve been busy with behind the scenes stuff and have gotten a bit lazy just posting community updates to Facebook.

Anyways, going forward keep a look out for more stuff here.

This is a photo taken by Cortney at Earth Baby at our last warehouse distribution day. We are always looking for volunteers (the EB warehouse is in Santa Clara) to help us in the warehouse, as well as groups who want to help with diaper drives.  If you are interested, let us know!