Attorney Moms on a Mission: WeeCycle
by Holly Chatelain
In this economy, there are more people who need help and there is less help to go around. So what made two Denver attorneys decide to start a new charity in this economic climate?
Jayme Ritchie and Sunny Heydorn became friends in 2006 while working at a downtown Denver law firm. Since then, they both became mothers. In the past, Sunny volunteered at a crisis hotline and Jayme volunteered with Meals on Wheels. But you can’t answer a hotline with a screaming baby in the background or cart hot meals around while carrying an infant.
While researching baby-friendly volunteer opportunities, Jayme discovered Baby2Baby in Los Angeles and Baby Buggy in New York, both of which are successful organizations supplying families in need with essential baby gear. Since its inception in late 2008, their Denver nonprofit startup, called WeeCycle, has donated more than 500 baby items (including cribs, car seats, pack-n-plays, strollers and more) to families in need.
As new mothers, Jayme and Sunny saw first-hand how quickly all the baby gear adds up. Basics like cribs, car seats and strollers cost hundreds of dollars, never mind the activity centers, swings and toys that are considered essential by many new parents. For families living in poverty, "essential" baby gear has an entirely different meaning. Realizing how fortunate they were to have everything they needed for their babies, Jayme and Sunny decided to create WeeCycle to help other families in Denver who might not be so lucky.
WeeCycle’s mission is to provide low-income families in the Denver metro area with new and gently used baby gear, free of charge. WeeCycle acquires the gear through charitable donations and distributes it through local organizations serving families affected by poverty, homelessness and domestic violence. They also contribute to environmental preservation by recycling and reusing baby gear.
In April, WeeCycle had the first-annual Hopscotch Hustle fundraiser, a mom-and-tot fashion show and silent auction that attracted more than 300 people and raised more than $5,000. A major part of WeeCycle’s success in this economy is attributable to the many volunteers who helped with that event, most of whom are also new moms thrilled to give back to the community with their babies in tow.
So far, this brand-new charity is thriving despite the recession, but WeeCycle still needs your help. Consider helping out by:
– purchasing an item from WeeCycle’s baby registry at BabiesRUs.com,
– becoming a corporate sponsor,
– hosting a baby gear drive at your law firm, or
– simply dropping off your gently used baby gear at one of many donation sites.
Check www.WeeCycleColorado.org for the donation site near you and for the list of items accepted. Contact WeeCycle at firstname.lastname@example.org to get your firm involved.