Little Essentials Executive Director Elissa Young and Founder/President Sandie Trombert
Since this week’s Torah portion highlights the story of two women who protected Israelite newborn sons, we are featuring two women from Little Essentials based in New York City. Read the interview below with Founder/President Sandie Trombert and Executive Director Elissa Young.
What is the mission of Little Essentials?
Little Essentials offers at-risk families living in poverty urgently needed children’s supplies and parenting education to promote the health, wellbeing and safety of their children under five years of age. – Elissa
Why did you decide to start Little Essentials?
In June 2010, I saw a post on my neighborhood parenting listserv in Brooklyn that changed my life — and the lives of thousands of New York children living in poverty. A volunteer at a city agency posted to the listserv that there was a pregnant mother living in a homeless shelter who was desperate for baby clothes. Directly alongside her plea were posts from parents looking to give away surplus clothing, strollers, car seats and other items that their families no longer needed. The contrast was striking. I immediately contacted the parents with items to give away. I drove around my neighborhood to collect the donations, then delivered them to the agency – all with my six-month-old baby in tow.
In the coming months, I became more involved in making connections between parents donating items and the agencies who help low-income families acquire much-needed essentials. In May of 2011 Little Essentials was born. In the years since then, the organization has grown from something I ran out of my living room to an established entity that, together with our partners and with the support of our sponsors, has served over 26,000 NYC children living in poverty. – Sandie
Share a story that has happened in your organization that has inspired you.
We received a request for a donation for a mother living in poverty who had a infant with a serious disability who was dependent on oxygen to survive. She had no safe place for her infant to sleep and we were able to immediately provide her with a safe sleep solution and a large stroller to accommodate her frequent visits to her pediatrician. We made a huge impact in this family's life. – Sandie
I am inspired by the staff at the community organizations we partner with. They are doing the challenging and rewarding work of supporting families on their path to becoming the best parents they can be. – Elissa
What's the best part of your job and why?
The best part of my job is bringing joy to children providing them warm winter clothing and toys during the holidays, and relief to their parents who are unable to provide them with the basics such as a safe place to sleep and clean diapers. We service families in urgent need of items such as young mothers living in foster care, victims of domestic violence and those who have been victims of sex trafficking among others. – Sandie
What are some non-monetary ways for others to get involved?
Volunteers are the heart of Little Essentials. We need volunteers to sort, clean and organize donations of baby essentials in our warehouse. You can also organize a donation drive of baby essentials (diapers, wipes, strollers) at your apartment building, office, school, etc., host a baby shower to collect baby items for Little Essentials, donate baby items that your children have outgrown, celebrate a special occasion (child's birthday) by asking family and friends to bring diapers or other baby items instead of gifts and you can purchase high need items from our wish lists. – Elissa
To learn more about Little Essentials visit https://www.littleessentials.org/