Having lived in a cramped Brooklyn apartment with two children under 3, I know how hard it is to find room for all the baby gear. Metropolitan living is great for a lot of things, but ample storage is not one of them. So when I heard that MASSE and Baby2Baby were teaming up to host a NYC donation drive for baby gear in the days leading up to Valentine's Day, I knew it was a cause so many urban parents could get behind.
If you find yourself staring into the abyss of an overflowing closet, filled to the brim with outgrown baby clothes and jackets, carriers and strollers, pack 'n plays and jumpers, then you'll love Baby2Baby and MASSE's #givemasselove initiative, which will help get your ready-to-part-with baby and kid supplies from your Brooklyn or Manhattan home to local families that are urgently in need of said supplies. Specifically, they'll go to babies, parents, and children in homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, foster care centers, and children's hospitals, according to a MASSE representative.
But before getting into all the details of the donation drive, you'll want a little backstory on the organizations behind it. MASSE, launched in 2018 by savvy moms Elizabeth Shaffer and Lizzy Brockhoff, is an app designed to make finding vetted products (especially baby products) easier. The platform collects authentic product reviews from their community (which is mostly made of moms), and shuns fake reviews and paid-for posts. "Each day on MASSE, our community shares recommendations for products they love or that have made their lives better," explains the co-founders of MASSE in a joint statement to Romper. You'll find reviews for everything from Glossier makeup products to baby wraps and more.
Then there's Baby2Baby, a Los Angeles-based non-profit organization that provides children living in poverty with diapers, clothing, and more. The organization is led by Kelly Sawyer Patricof and Nora Weinstien and supported by some of Hollywood's biggest stars (Jessica Alba, Rachel Zoe, and Kate Hudson to name a few), according to CSQ. Baby2Baby has made a meaningful impact both locally and nationally, with some 50 million items distributed in the last seven years, according to non-profit's website. Recently, they partnered with Kids In Need Of Defense (KIND) to provide supplies to children who were being held in detention centers at the southern border.
While the two organizations might seem to be quite different from one another, their partnership actually makes a lot of sense. "Every mom has a product they love but no longer need, and as babies become toddlers and toddlers become young children, their clothes and toys are quickly outgrown. Our community wanted to pass along these beloved items to other mothers, much like the advice mothers on MASSE share with each other, so that families in need can love and enjoy them too," says the MASSE co-founders.
If you're like me and are on a decluttering spree thanks to Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, then the #givemasselove donation drive is the perfect way to let your unused baby/kids items spark joy in a new, deserving home. Qualifying items include diapers, wipes, hygiene items, gently worn clothing (preferably winter wear) and lightly used or new toys, according to a MASSE rep. The MASSE website also lists pack n' plays, single strollers, infant carriers, and slings as approved donation items.
If you're interested in donating items, there are a few simple steps you can take to get started. First, you must live in Manhattan or Brooklyn to schedule a pick-up, but if you're outside of those areas, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org. Download the free MASSE app, tap the pink banner on your feed, and follow the instructions to schedule your pick-up. Sign-ups for pick-ups will take place from February 7 and 8, and then MASSE will arrange for the items to be picked up from your home (or specific address) between February 11-13, and Baby2Baby will them before Valentine's Day — really gotta stress the home pick up here because for NYC parents, the logistics of figuring out when and how you're going to get rid of items you're ready to let go of can be surprisingly complicated.
What this inspiring collaboration shows is that Valentine's Day can be so much more than just a day for lovers; it can be a chance to spread love throughout your community.