There’s Black Friday, Cyber Monday and a slew of other shopping geared days that consumes and distracts our society throughout the month of November & December. That said, it’s not hard to get caught up in the “gifting” of the season and sometimes you need just a little reminder (myself included) about the importance of giving back this holiday season….which is why I’m excited to kick off the “MOM’S WHO INSPIRE ME” series with my first ever feature and interview on the BLOG with Adrienne Harper ! If you read one BLOG post of mine this month I urge you to read this one!
Adrienne is a mom of 2 who founded the non-profit Bundles of Joy. The charity provides custom “bundles” of items that babies, toddlers and mothers in critical conditions need to thrive (including clothing, toiletries, hygiene items, gear, feeding supplies toys, books and more). Adrienne’s selflessness and dedication to helping others is really unbelievable and I was so inspired by what she has accomplished and the local community that she has created that I wanted to share her story with all of you in the hopes that you to will support her in her journey of helping moms and children in the Westchester/ NYC area that are not as fortunate as we are.
Did you know that today is also GIVING TUESDAY? Do your part to help & Donate directly to the Bundle Of Joy” Amazon Registry List*** I’ve also made a huge pile of Rosie’s old baby & toddler clothes that I’m donating to the charity & I urge you to do the same!
On to our chat!
Kathleen: Hi Adrienne, I’m so excited to share your story with my readers. You have inspired me a great deal and I know you will inspire my MOM Friends as well. Let’s start off with you telling our readers a little bit about yourself?
Adrienne: I’m a full time stay at home / work from home mom of two but I call Bundles of Joy my third baby (it’s still in it’s infancy so it keeps me up at night.) I feel so lucky to be able to be with my kids and also carve out time to do what fulfills me personally and professionally, beyond them. I really struggled with maintaining my own identity after my first was born but after a lot of soul searching, realized my “calling” in Bundles of Joy. I delivered our first batch of Bundles when Wesley, my second, was only 3 weeks old and never looked back.
I live in Bronxville now with my husband, Patrick and two kids (Sloane and Wesley). We really love it here, though it took a lot of convincing for my husband to even consider moving outside the City, where he was born and raised. He totally drinks the cool-aid now, though.
Kathleen: I feel like so many moms can relate to that. After I had Rosie, I felt like something had shifted or changed. Things that mattered to me before did not seem to matter anymore. I also made a drastic change in my career which was scary at the time. Bronxville seems like such a great little community (my sister in law get up there) My husband and I are still in the City, but I’m thinking we need to be sipping on that cool-aid soon. How old are your children?
Adrienne: Sloane is 4 and Wesley will be 2 in March.
Kathleen: Rosie is almost 2 1/2. I can’t believe how fas it goes! Why don’t you tell us all a little bit more about the charity itself and then we can get into how you came up with idea to start Bundles of Joy in the first place?
Adrienne: Bundles of Joy is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 that provides essentials to babies and toddlers living in low-income or homeless situations. We create custom Bundles with all the items babies need to thrive; everything from clothing, toiletries, hygiene items, gear, feeding supplies, toys and books. We know that parenthood is hard and it’s impossible without the proper tools. The reason BoJ works is because 80% of what we give in a Bundle is simply donated from someone’s closet … no purchase necessary. We connect those who have with those who need. There is such a surplus of stuff that we all accumulate and it’s really nice to know it can be Bundled up and passed on to someone who really needs it when you’re done. So many people give me things with tags on them or barely worn items…and they love knowing their treasured items won’t sit in a pile on the floor of some other charity, we’re getting them into the hands of those who really need it, and fast.
Kathleen: I love this phrase that you mention “We connect those who have with those who need” It seems like such a simple concept and you have proved that helping others can be as easy as connecting with people. Does the charity benefit or support a specific group of people?
Adrienne: We support low income and homeless families throughout Westchester and NYC. We work with government agencies, social service agencies, shelters, food pantries, hospitals, schools, and early head start programs to reach the most vulnerable at the most critical time in development.
Kathleen: Ok tri-state MAMAS! That mean’s us! This is our chance to get involved in a local charity that helps moms give their babies everything that we are so fortunate to be able to provide on our own. How did you come up with the idea to start bundles of joy ?
Adrienne: Before moving to Bronxville, we lived in Boston for a brief time and at the time, I was pregnant. I was working and volunteered for a local org that provided essentials to children throughout Massachusetts in critical need. I was filling orders and was so floored by the requests. Families were in need of basic, everyday items that many people don’t think twice about; bath wash, towels, socks, books. It was heartbreaking and a very sobering reality. That experience was life-changing for me because when I had Sloane, I couldn’t give her a bath without thinking about families who couldn’t afford soap. My entire perspective was shifted and it hit home for me. As a new mom, I struggled with feeling adequate, I wanted my child to have the very best and I imagine everyone feels that way. Not being able to provide would break my heart, shake my confidence and I wouldn’t be the best parent. So, that’s how it started. I remember saying to Patrick that THIS is what I want to do. THIS is how I want to spend my time. Then, moving to Westchester, where we have one of the greatest income gaps in the nation, I just knew this was it. This was my opportunity to make a difference by connecting those who have with those who need.
Kathleen: I can’t even imagine. It’s so easy to forget just how fortunate you really are and sometimes you need to be snapped out of your bubble just for a second to wake up and realize how many people are in need of the basic essentials to live. You really have done that for me and I’m am so happy that we connected through this crazy social network. I can’t wait to work together this holiday season and help with my time/donations anything that I can! Speaking of.. how can my readers get involved & what can we all do to help this holiday season?
Adrienne: We’ve put together a lot of opportunities for giving, whether you’re able to give time, funds, material things…I think there’s something for everyone looking to get involved. On my blog post there’s a list of what’s happening and how to support: HERE One of the simplest ways to get involved is to donate directly to our Bundles of Joy Amazon Registry Wish List that we frequently update to reflect items of greatest need.
Kathleen: The amazon registry list is a no brainer. It makes it simple to donate with a click of a button. On your next amazon list. What are some of the most needed items you need this holiday season?
Adrienne: As temps drop, our biggest concern is keeping kids safe from the harsh winter. We’re always in need of winter gear like gently used coats, hats, mittens/gloves, socks, and snow boots. Warm pajamas are a huge help for families because heat in public housing/ shelters can be unreliable.
Just following us on IG is a huge support because we have lots of calls to action. One day we may need a driver to deliver Bundles or perhaps we need a one off item that you have laying around. You just never know who can help and how.
Kathleen: I love this. You’ve created such a supportive local community and one that can help out on a moment’s notice. It really is amazing to see how many people you have helped. I can’t wait to see what you will do as you grow and gain more and more support! Thank you again for taking the time out to chat with me and I’m really looking forward to our special projects that we have in store together in the near future! Before we go, for the local MOMS, what is your favorite activity to do with your kids in your town?
Adrienne: My kids are such homebodies! It’s almost painful to get them out of the house some days BUT when we do, we love Greenburg Nature Center, the Bronx Zoo is so close, and I take Sloane to ride horses at a local stable because she’s horse-obsessed. Anything with animals, we’re there.