OAKLAND -- Last summer, Lisa Klein had some sleepless nights with the prospect of the baby clothing donation nonprofit that she built -- one onesie at a time -- on the edge of shutting down.
This summer, Klein is, well, sleeping like a baby.
Her concerns are far different: is there enough space on the sorting table in her new East Bay headquarters for the massive amounts of donated baby clothes that come through the door every week?
With the support of the Harry L. & Helen M. Rust Charitable Foundation, the Dean and Margaret Lesher Foundation, and a bounty of individual donors, the nonprofit secured a two-year lease on ground floor space to store, sort and bag donated baby clothes for delivery to more social service agencies around the Bay Area.
"I think people have big hearts and they want to help," Klein said. "You can't sell a onesie so why not donate it to a nonprofit."
Loved Twice, launched out of Klein's 500-square-foot dark and wet basement in Oakland in 2005 has donated more than 57,000 pounds of baby clothing and infant items to nearly 6,000 newborns over the years.
The idea started small. She donated to hospitals and social service agencies and they passed along the goods to new moms in need. But soon it grew. And then it grew some more. Five thousand pounds of clothing donated, 10,000 pounds, 30,000 pounds donated.
A mother and wife with a home to run, dinner to make and two kids to shuttle to
So, she put out a call for help last summer.
The call was heard loud and clear.
"We had a lot of people donate funds -- from a 20 dollar bill in the mail to a $3,000 check. Other people said 'I want to help, I want to volunteer.' I think (our call for help) struck a chord with people because who doesn't want to help a homeless baby or a newborn in need?" she said.
With money to lease a space for two years, she needed someone to give the drab warehouse a face-lift.
As luck would have it, a neighbor was having a remodel done by Canyon Design Build in Oakland and the "big burly guys," as she called them, working on the home would often help Klein haul the boxes and bags of donated clothing into her basement.
She got to know them -- and their work. And she liked what she saw.
So after she found a headquarters, (she doesn't want to disclose the location for the safety of her volunteers) she went to Canyon Design Build and asked for help.
"It needed a lot of love,'' she said.
Klein isn't one to give up easily and she told them exactly what she needed. She's a public relations powerhouse that has scored her ink in People magazine, the Huffington Post, and airtime on the Today Show. She's also been awarded for four Certificates of Congressional Recognition (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012) and been honored by Major League Baseball in the All Stars Among Us program, to name a few.
Canyon Design wanted to help out, and after a little arm twisting the company spent about $6,500 on design, materials and sub-contacting costs, including painting, remodeling, building sorting tables and storage areas, installing lighting and even putting an inspirational Dr. Seuss quote on one wall, said Veronika Rathert, the company's senior designer.
In the new space, Klein relies solely on volunteers from company "sorting parties" and has had employees from Google, Chevron, Wells Fargo, Shutterfly, the Oakland Athletics, Lexus, and others helping out.
Rathert said the company wanted to help out a nonprofit and chose Loved Twice because it is "very successful in identifying a very real problem and effective in implementing a very successful solution."
Each box includes roughly 75 items (socks, hats, pants, books, shirts, sleepwear, access to a free new parent kit supplied by First Five Alameda County, bibs and other essential baby items) and is worth about $225.
Mail checks to 4123 Broadway, Suite 815, Oakland, CA, 94611. Donate baby clothes to a collection bin, which can be found at www.LovedTwice.org. Loved Twice is a 501c3 nonprofit and their Tax ID: 94-3441434