Diaper Love Project


Diaper Love Project

A Photographic Series from Help a Mother Out and Christie Hemm Klok

Laura and Edgar (age 11 mos, diaper size 6) live in San Francisco. They receive diapers from Help a Mother Out.

Laura and Edgar (age 11 mos, diaper size 6) live in San Francisco. They receive diapers from Help a Mother Out.

“I always dreamed of having a happy family and happy children. We have two children, my son who is almost 1-year old and my 4-year old daughter who is in Pre-K. I worry most about taking care of the children and how to take care of the baby. My daughter has crossed feet and when she walks she falls down easily. Now she is in therapy, but that was very scary.

Last week the best thing that happened was when my husband brought home a rose for me. I met my husband in Guatemala. He came to the United States first and when I came afterwards he asked me to get married. I felt very happy. I came to the United States six years ago. I could not afford food in Guatemala and came in search of work and because of poverty in my country. My brother and sister-in-law live together with us in the apartment, and before the children I worked as a food preparer in a restaurant.

My favorite thing to do with my family is to go out to the playground, read books, play with the baby in the house, or go to the playgroup. My desire and hope is to have my children grow up to be healthy and receive an education. I want to have a happy family.”


Photo credits: Christie Hemm Klok

Help a Mother Out Applauds Governor Newsom and First Partner on Newly Introduced “Parents’ Agenda” and the Sales and Use Tax Exemption for Diapers

Today, ahead of the Thursday budget release, Governor Newsom and First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom joined members of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus to preview a package of proposals in the budget focused on helping parents. The proposals, which the administration is calling its “Parents Agenda,” address specific cost of living issues faced by young parents and parents of small children.

This includes a sales and use tax exemption for diapers, which Help a Mother Out (HAMO) applauds, with this statement from Founder and Executive Director Lisa Truong:

“Every baby deserves a healthy supply of diapers. But the cost can be prohibitive to families in need. In the Bay Area alone,tens of thousands of children under the age of 3 live in a household with income under the California Poverty Measure, and diapers are not covered by public assistance programs such as SNAP (aka food stamps) or WIC (Women, Infants, and Children). This proposed tax exemption represents a significant step forward, benefiting families across California and relieving some of the financial pressure so many parents face when raising kids here. Assembly Member Lorena Gonzalez has led the campaign to repeal the diaper tax, having introduced legislation several years in a row, but never gaining passage of the bill. Help a Mother Out and a coalition of other diaper banks supported this year's bill AB 66. We now call on the Senate and Assembly to support Governor Newsom’s request to include repeal of diaper tax in the Budget Act of 2019.”

Help a Mother Out® works to improve baby and family well being by increasing access to diapers for families in need. A family’s access to a reliable supply of clean diapers reduces the risk of infectious disease outbreaks, improves baby’s health and comfort, and enables baby’s participation in early care and education programs. The non-profit organization has distributed more than 10 million diapers to Bay Area families since its founding in 2009.

Honor a Mom You Love. Get Ready for Mother's Day and Give Hope.

Photo by    Christie Hemm Klok   .

Dear Friends,

I spend most of my time looking at the numbers, but I always stay focused on the larger goal, remembering why it is we do what we do. As a mother myself, I care deeply about baby and family well-being. This is the reason that I support Help a Mother Out and the reason I am reaching out to you today.

Mother’s Day is an incredibly special time for Help a Mother Out, as it marks the official founding date of this amazing organization, and this year is extra special as we celebrate our 10th Anniversary. Mother’s Day is May 12th, and I need your help to make this Mother’s Day incredibly successful.

  • Donate now to double your donation. Every gift you give between now and Mother’s Day will be generously matched, dollar for dollar, up to $15,000, by the Harry L. and Helen M. Rust Charitable Foundation. This means that your gift will go twice as far in helping Bay Area families get access to a reliable supply of clean diapers.

  • Your gift will be used wisely. As the Treasurer of the Board of Directors, I can assure you that we are good stewards of your money. Every dollar you give helps to improve baby and family well-being.

  • Honor a mom you love. Make a donation in honor of a mom you love, and we’ll send her a swell card (snail mail or email).

  • You can make an impact on the lives of Bay Area families. Clean diapers reduce the risk of infectious disease outbreaks, improve baby’s health and comfort, and enable baby’s participation in early care and education programs. Help a Mother Out is working towards a world in which every baby has access to clean diapers, and your gift matters.

As Mother’s Day approaches, I ask you to join me in supporting this wonderful organization. When you give a gift to Help a Mother Out, you are giving the greatest gift of all -- hope.

In Community,

Mitra Rezvan, on behalf of the HAMO Crew

Treasurer, Help a Mother Out Board of Directors

p.s. You can help spread the word by sharing this with your network. We need your help to make the generous $15,000 match!

Poverty Goes Hand in Hand with Stress for the Whole Family

California is upping its game to fight childhood trauma and toxic stress. Dr. Nadine Harris Burke, our first Surgeon General recently appointed by Gov. Newsom says, “Exposure to early adversity dramatically affects the developing brains and bodies of children.”

At Help a Mother Out, we know that access to diapers is a small thing that greatly alleviates a mother’s stress. Children are especially sensitive to stress because their brains and bodies are just developing.

Dr. Robert Block, Former President of American Academy of Pediatrics says, “Adverse childhood experiences are the single greatest unaddressed public health threat facing our nation today.”

Research traces adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs, to the later onset of physical and mental illness. Poverty and exposure to adversity can lead to a greatly increased chance of childhood trauma.

Learn more about the new efforts in the movement to combat ACEs in this article from California Healthline: California Looks To Lead Nation In Unraveling Childhood Trauma

And, see Dr. Nadine Burke Harris’ impassioned TED Talk below.

Thank you for helping us increase access to diapers for families in need. The impact of this small thing can be great.

Diaper Love Project


Diaper Love Project

A Photographic Series from Help a Mother Out and Christie Hemm Klok

Callie and Mimi (age 17 mos, diaper size 4) live in San Francisco. They receive diapers from Help a Mother Out.

Callie and Mimi (age 17 mos, diaper size 4) live in San Francisco. They receive diapers from Help a Mother Out.

“Our family is me, my husband who works, our baby girl, and my mother. I share our apartment with another family now. My wish is that I would like to have a living space for just my family. Getting diapers has reduced the stress for my family and lowered my anxiety, too. I just lost my job and I am looking for a new job now. I am very worried about money. If I didn’t receive diapers from the program, it would impact my finances very much. They are expensive and we have had to buy food with that money. I’m very grateful for the help.”


Photo credits: Christie Hemm Klok

Replenish the Diaper Bank for Families Affected by the Gov’t Shutdown

We’ve recently cleared the shelves of our Diaper Bank to meet the urgent need of our unpaid federal workforce and their families. Our shelves are bare and the demand for diapers from families in need is still critical.

Donate today to replenish the Diaper Bank. your donation will help ensure that more babies have the diapers they need. Click here to give now >

You can also bring diapers to any of our drop-off bins: Click here for locations >

And, you can purchase diapers directly from our Amazon wish list.

Diaper Love Project


Diaper Love Project

A Photographic Series from Help a Mother Out and Christie Hemm Klok

Ying has two children in diapers. Baby Daniel is 5 months old and wears a size 4 diaper. They receive diapers from Help a Mother Out and live in San Francisco.

Ying has two children in diapers. Baby Daniel is 5 months old and wears a size 4 diaper. They receive diapers from Help a Mother Out and live in San Francisco.

“I am worried about finances all the time and I’ve needed to choose between buying diapers and formula. I do not have enough breast milk so I need to feed formula to my baby -- but my baby doesn't like the taste of the powder formula, he likes the taste of liquid formula. Because of the diaper program I don't have to spend money on diapers so I can spend money on other things for my family. If I didn't have access to diapers it would be hard on my family’s finances. Sometimes if I didn't have enough diapers I would extend the life of the diapers I did have and take more time between diaper changes. I am on WIC* and I do not qualify for CalFresh* now because my husband is working full time and I got cut off from CalFresh. Receiving diapers has really helped lower my financial stress. My hope is that my kids are happy and healthy. That is what I want.”

*These federal and state assistance programs do not offer diapers.


Photo credits: Christie Hemm Klok

Diaper Love Project


Diaper Love Project

A Photographic Series from Help a Mother Out and Christie Hemm Klok

Tina and Carlos (24 mo./diaper size 6) live in a small San Francisco apartment and receive diapers from Help a Mother Out.

Tina and Carlos (24 mo./diaper size 6) live in a small San Francisco apartment and receive diapers from Help a Mother Out.

“I receive diapers every month from the program. It has helped us a lot because we can use the money that we are saving on diapers to buy food or clothing for my son. It has really helped to lower our financial stress. If we didn’t receive these diapers, I don’t know what I would do. So we would need to make it work with what we had left at home. My hopes and dreams are for my children to be happy, to find something that they love and enjoy that they are happy with. And for us to be healthy and happy as a family. I worry about him getting sick, but at the moment everything is okay.”


Photo credits: Christie Hemm Klok

California Fire Relief

Great news! We are now able to accept your in kind diapers to Butte County fire victims. Thank you to our amazing partner Earth Baby for donating a truck and to driver Roseanne, who is donating her time! Please help fire victims who have young children by giving diapers! There are three ways to give:

  1. Donate to the California Fire Relief Fund. 100% of your donation will go toward purchase of diapers at volume discount. Click here to give now >

  2. Bring diapers to any of our drop-off bins. Click here for locations >

  3. Purchase from HAMO’s Amazon wish list.


Governor Brown Signs AB480 into Law

On October 12, 2017, Governor Brown signed AB480 into law. 

Help a Mother Out commends Assembly Member Gonzalez-Fletcher for her persistent efforts to include diapers in California’s safety net, and for her leadership in sponsoring AB480. Since 2009, Help a Mother Out has worked to address the unmet immediate need in the community and engaged in legislative advocacy for public policy solutions to end diaper need. We applaud Governor Brown for signing AB480 into law and look forward to additional counties joining San Francisco’s efforts to include diapers in the CalWORKs safety net.

Additional information about the legislation can be found through the following links:


Celebrating Diaper Need Awareness Week

We were excited to participate in the 2017 Diaper Need Awareness Week (September 25, 2017 to October 1, 2017). Diaper Need Awareness Week is a national initiative to make people aware that 1 in 3 American families struggle with diaper need -- meaning they do not have enough diapers to keep their babies clean, dry and healthy.

Help a Mother Out received three official proclamations in recognition of Diaper Need Awareness Week. A huge thank you to Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, and the San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women for their proclamations.

HAMO staff members Nora Nicholson (fourth from right) and Anu Menon (third from left) with the San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women.

HAMO staff members Nora Nicholson (fourth from right) and Anu Menon (third from left) with the San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women.

HAMO and our Alameda partners also got a special DNAW treat  - a meeting with Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf as part of the official presentation of the DNAW proclamation. It was a great honor to talk to the Mayor about diaper need and hear about her passion for helping children and needy families in Oakland.

HAMO staff and our Oakland partners with the DNAW proclamation.

HAMO staff and our Oakland partners with the DNAW proclamation.

HAMO staff members Anu Menon (left), Nora Nicholson (center back), Lisa Truong (center front) and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf (right) with DNAW proclamation.

HAMO staff members Anu Menon (left), Nora Nicholson (center back), Lisa Truong (center front) and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf (right) with DNAW proclamation.

We are stronger together, and these proclamations demonstrate the dedication of Bay Area communities to work alongside Help a Mother Out in an effort to ensure that all families have access to the diapers they need. Every baby deserves a clean diaper.

Help a Mother Out Honors Jessica Bartholow with the 2017 Community Impact Award

Help a Mother Out was delighted to award Jessica Bartholow, Policy Advocate at the Western Center on Law and Poverty, with the Community Impact Award at our 2017 Annual Benefit Tea last weekend. Her acceptance speech, which so eloquently spoke to the issue of diaper need, is presented below.

"I’m so very honored to be honored today, not only for the recognition of my work but also because it comes from you - Help a Mother Out. Help a Mother Out is one of the most forward thinking Diaper Banks in the Country, developing model programs and strategies to meet unmet diaper need that are serving up ideas for the rest of the state and, in fact, the rest of the country. So thank you.

I’ve been asked to say a couple of words today about the problem of unmet diaper need and the work we are leading together as a community of people who want to protect those very special months following the birth of a child when important developmental goals of an infant and toddler will be met…or they won’t.

When a family is unable to afford the 8-12 diapers needed daily for an infant, they simply use fewer diapers, which means that babies will linger, uncomfortable and unhappy, for longer periods of time in diapers that contains urine and feces. Prolonged exposure to urine and fecal matter breaks down the natural defenses of the infant’s skin and resulting in a painful diaper rash. Without an adequate supply of diapers, a simple rash can turn in to a more complicated rash that requires medication. And, because poor children are already more likely to experience illness than other children, unmet diaper needs both increases the likelihood of illness and undermines one tool used to treat illness resulting in diarrhea or rash.

Unmet diaper needs don’t only impact the physical health of a child, but also their mental health and future potential. This is because parents who are unable to adequately diaper their children are more likely to experience maternal depression,   a condition associated with reduced maternal-child interaction known to undermine school readiness among poor children. 

 Lack of maternal interaction and infection isn’t the only danger to these infants and toddlers. 

Research has shown that children living in conditions where their basic needs go unmet not only experience depravity of not having those needs met, but are also deeply impacted by the toxic stress that results from chronically unmet needs.  Toxic stress is defined as a consistent, high level of stress which has the physiological impact of increased levels of cortisone, which leads to diet related disease, and structural impacts on their brain development. In my opinion, most cruel result of toxic stress for infants and toddlers is that, as brain researchers have found, it undermines the structure of the part of their brain that supports “coping” – one could argue is one of the most important skills they will need to grow up in poverty and to eventually exit it.

Finally, lack of adequate diaper supply can interrupt or prevent participation in early learning settings.  Most early learning childcare settings require families to bring their own diapers.  So even when the price of childcare is subsidized, a poor infant and toddlers may be kept from reaping the many benefits of participating in an early child education setting because their parents are unable to afford the number of diapers required by the center.     Consequently, when a family is unable to provide for the mandatory diapers required by the child care center, the parent(s) are also unable to participate in work or training programs to help them lift themselves out of poverty.

So much of what Help a Mother Out, and other similar organizations around the country, do is focused on a the logistics of getting diapers and diaper products into the hands and onto the tiny little chubby butts of infants and toddlers. This work is essential – it can interrupt the toxic stress low-income families experience. Adequate, regular access to diapers and diaper products not only prevent negative infant health impacts and related pain and suffering of babies – but they are an important paver bricks in the path out of poverty for these families with low-income families.

So today, as we celebrate the volunteers, staff and donors of Help a Mother Out, I hope all of us can be proud that this work is not just about covering the cute little heinies of Bay Area babies as they take their first steps but also protecting their life opportunities and each step along the way."

Jessica Bartholow is a Policy Advocate with nearly two decades of experience in anti-poverty organizing, advocacy and program development at the local, state and national level. Jessica has co-authored several advocate and program guides and led a coalition to support the passage of several pieces of signed legislation that improve public benefits delivery, consumer protections and financial empowerment for low-income Americans. Jessica holds a Master’s Degree in Political Science and is the 2012 recipient of the Wellstone -Wheeler National Anti-Hunger Advocate of the Year Award.

Our New Partnership with thredUP

As the mother of son who wears shorts 365 days a year, thredUP is a lifesaver. It’s my go-to place to buy high-quality, affordable summer clothing in the middle of winter, when other online retailers are selling fleece lined pants and parkas. So you can imagine how excited I (Anu) was to learn about the new partnership between thredUP and Help a Mother Out!

thredUP is one of the largest online consignment stores for women and children and, like HAMO, has been around since 2009. I had the opportunity to chat with Diana Rothschild, thredUP’s Director of Strategic Partnerships to learn about the company and this great opportunity.

According to Diana, “Seventy percent of items in a typical closet haven’t been worn in a year. thredUP helps women make their lives easier by thinking secondhand first and now they make it easy for them to turn their closets into cash for organizations like Help a Mother Out.”


Here’s how it works:  Have high-quality, new or gently used clothes that are taking up extra space in your closet? Want to turn those clothes into cash for HAMO? thredUP will send you a Donation Clean Out Kit (with $0 Service Fee and Free Shipping) with a prepaid mailing label. Fill it up and either schedule a pickup at your doorstep or drop it off at a USPS or FedEx store. thredUP will buy your bag from HAMO (so cash goes to HAMO!), and then process the bag (either adding the items to sell on their website or recycling the items sustainably) to cover their expenses. Clean closet = Clean diapers for low-income moms.

Diana is excited about the donation program, because it is one of the most convenient ways to turn clothes into cash for non-profits like HAMO. Cash means buying power for HAMO to purchase diapers in the sizes our partners need most! Win-Win.

Doesn’t Diana have a cool job? “My daughters like that I work at thredUP since they believe I can buy them clothes all the time!” Diana told me. In addition to running the donation program Diana manages recycling items sent to thredUP that can’t be added to the website, getting great inventory, and enhancing the supplier experience. “As a parent, there are not enough hours in the day to do everything I want to do. So I need a job where I love what I do and the people I’m doing it with. At thredUP, I’ve found a company of people that celebrate the whole self, work hard, and sees doing good as good for business.” And we are excited to partner with a company that celebrates the nonprofit community as well!

This is how the program works.

Help a Mother Out and order your Donation Clean Out Kit today. 

A Dirty Little Problem With a Clean Solution

Composting Diapers Is An Environmentally Responsible Method With No Impact 

by Mark Siminoff

It’s hard to believe that something the size of a sack of flour could generate a mountain of waste. But every year in the United States babies produce more than 18 billion diapers that are thrown into landfills.

This struck me hard when I became a parent 10 years ago. My wife and I welcomed a beautiful baby boy into the world along with a houseful of gadgets and disposable products, aka. “brandfill”. Every week we deposited heaps of diapers and wipes into our garbage and boxed up toys and gizmos he’d outgrown.

By the time we had our second child I realized just how much waste — particularly poopy diapers — we generate. It really got to me. While providing your baby with a diaper is not optional, the lifecycle of that product once it leaves his/her behind is. Surely there has to be a more environmentally responsible way to diaper, I thought. So began my research and a frustrating finding: Every diapering product — be it plastic, cloth, or semi‐compostable — is a consumption of natural resources, whether it’s gallons of water for laundering or acres of landfill for disposal.

Proponents of cloth diapers claim it’s better for the earth and baby to wash and dry nappies. Disposable users rave that plastic diapers are more convenient, absorbent and don’t require the use of water or detergents. Several name brand manufacturers have introduced bio‐degradable diapers or hybrid diaper consisting of a cloth cover with a disposable/flushable layer. But both still end up in the landfill.

While all sides of the debate make compelling arguments, the reality is they are not perfect and nor are their studies. Most of the published studies have been sponsored by factions from within the diaper industry. Not surprisingly the findings always support those parties that paid for it. A study by Franklin Associates in 1990 was funded by the American Paper Institute and showed disposable diapers to be better. 

A study by Lehrberger & Jones in 1991 was funded by the National Association of  Diaper Services and favored cloth diapering. A rare independent perspective was published in 2005 when London’s Environment Agency conducted a study to evaluate the impact of disposable versus cloth diapers. It found no clear winner or loser.

“There was no significant difference between any of the environmental impacts – that is, overall no system clearly had a better or worse environmental performance,” authors concluded in the report titled Life Cycle Assessment of Disposable Nappies in the UK .

As I watched my babies’ diapers being trucked out to the landfill each week, I started brainstorming an inconceivable idea: composting, a controlled natural process where yeasts, fungi and bacteria aerobically digest organic compounds turning it into dirt. When done properly composting produces little or no methane gas, destroys all pathogens, and yields rich, safe soil. What if we could turn something foul into a usable, salable product?

I first learned about composting when I was a little kid. I was at Pete Seeger’s — yes, the folk singer — house in Beacon, N.Y. and he had a composting toilet. It left such an impression on me that 30 plus years later I reflected on it as a possible solution to the diapering dilemma. I began looking for places to buy and compost diapers in the United States only to find that no such product or service existed here. 

I discovered a company in Sweden that makes compostable diapers that look and feel like disposable ones and are non‐toxic. I also found a space in the South Bay to compost the waste. My business plan went something like this: We’d drop off a batch of compostable diapers to a customer’s doorstep, pick up the dirty nappies, and drop them at the compost facility where they’d be turned to dirt, which would be used commercially.

EarthBaby started in September 2008 with 17 families in and around Mountain View. For 12 weeks, my business partners and I drove around in my personal pickup truck one morning each week dropping off and picking up diapers. After the beta program every single family continued using our service.

Eight years later we are expanding our footprint. My dream is to revolutionize diapering in the US and ultimately worldwide by composting diapers instead of disposing of them in landfills. While there are no simple solutions to most of our environmental problems, care and consideration at every step from the first to the last, is crucial to providing a healthy planet for our children.

About the author:

Mark Siminoff is the founder of EarthBaby, LLC. Prior to EarthBaby, Mark was a manager and mechanical engineer at the global product design firm IDEO. After the birth of his two children he was shocked at the volume of diaper waste that accumulated each week. That coupled with the awareness that the products he had dedicated his previous career to developing were only serving to exacerbate the landfill issues spurred the creation of EarthBaby, a compostable diapering service.

EarthBaby is a long term supporter of Help a Mother Out and a sponsor of the 2016 Let Good Grow Tea.



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.

Got Bags?

Ever finish a conference or trade show and find that you over-ordered the swag? Wondering what to do with all those tote bags that have outdated info or messaging?

Let us help!

We are currently on the lookout for corporate in-kind donations of any type of reusable bags. We’ll be giving these bags to mothers to help them carry packages of diapers. And we’re not picky – we don’t mind branding or logos on the bags. We just want to give your old bags the chance to do good, and give parents some help carrying their things. Let’s get that swag back into action!

If you or your company is interested in clearing out overstock and donating it to our cause, let us know! Please contact Nora by calling 415-938-6667 or by emailing nora@helpamotherout.org.

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.”

Mother’s Day Portraits To Help Moms

Los Angeles photographer and owner of Litetrap Studios, Michael Murphree, has offered Mother’s Day-themed mini sessions as a priceless gift for the moms in your life with all proceeds going to support Help a Mother Out’s efforts in Los Angeles.

Portrait by Michael Murphree

For a donation of $100, up to 20 mothers and their children will receive a 15-minute portrait session on May 17, two 5 x 7 prints, and a custom Facebook timeline photo.

Michael Murphree has 20 years of experience as a commercial and celebrity photographer, starting his career as apprentice to world-famous photographer Annie Leibovitz. It was when Michael had his own family that he fell in love with photographing his wife and twin babies. This led to the creation of Litetrap Studios, where Michael takes joy in capturing the special moments in other families’ lives with the goal of creating cherished heirlooms that pass on through generations.

The mini-sessions are available to up to 20 mothers and their children, and children of any age. Want a priceless memory of you with your own mother? This is a wonderful opportunity to have a true artist create a portrait of you, and help another mother out at the same time.

Studio space is generously provided by Books and Cookies, a bookstore and play space in Santa Monica.

To reserve your sitting appointment or to arrange for one as a gift to that special mom in your life on Mother’s Day, make your donation here.

Mother’s Day Mini-Sessions with Michael Murphree
May 17, 2015
Books and Cookies
2309 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA 90405
To purchase click here
For more information please contact Kim Tracy Prince at kim@helpamotherout.org