Giving back is a key part of Jet Set Go’s mission. We work with a number of Community Partners to help bring the products that we are passionate about to the people that need them most. Today, we are shining the spotlight on Little Essentials. Little Essentials is a New York City-based nonprofit that provides essential services to at-risk families. We chatted with Alex Konen, Little Essentials’ Volunteer and Community Engagement Coordinator, to learn more about Little Essentials, the impactful work she does, and how we can help.
Can you give a description of the types of services that Little Essentials provides?
Little Essentials offers at-risk families living in poverty urgently needed children’s supplies and parenting education to promote the health, well-being, and safety of their children under five years of age.
We do this by working with 26 city agencies and nonprofit organizations who provide us with orders that indicate the specific needs of those families. Orders include requests for diapers, clothing, hygiene items, strollers, car seats, books, toys, and more! Thanks to donations from our generous community and corporate and nonprofit partners, we are typically able to fulfill 100% of the requested items.
We also provide vital parenting workshops through the agencies we work with. Our most popular class is Baby Care and Feeding. We cover important topics like CPR and Safety, Toddler Nutrition, and Financial Literacy.
How many children does Little Essentials serve each year?
Since our founding, Little Essentials has served over 40,000 children in need. Due to COVID-19, we have opened up our operations to provide additional emergency orders to families outside of our 26 partner organizations. Out of the 235 emergency orders we fulfilled over the last few months, we ended up serving between 250-300 children!
Why is it important for the children that you serve to have travel gear, like the BABYZEN YOYO?
Because the families we serve are often in transitional housing, the YOYO is perfectly compact and lightweight enough for them to transport easily. The BABYZEN YOYO is the ideal stroller for our families!
When families pick up their orders, it’s the best feeling to see their faces light up when we show them that they are receiving a brand new stroller (the majority of items they receive are gently used) and they’re amazed that it’s small enough to fit into a travel bag. The YOYO is especially beneficial for our families, as they can stay with the child from infancy through their toddler years.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
I love being Little Essentials’ Volunteer and Community Engagement Coordinator because I get to share our organization’s mission on a daily basis. It’s inspiring to see how eager the community is to support local families through volunteering and donating. Little Essentials truly would not be possible without their support.
Has there been a family that you worked with that has stuck with you?
Over the last several months we have worked with a teen mother who used to volunteer for us through her school. The client is learning disabled and has a two year old daughter. Unfortunately, both the client’s mother and grandmother passed away from COVID-19 complications, leaving her homeless. She has been living in a shelter and unable to work. Thankfully, we have been able to stay in touch with the client’s school and case worker so that we can provide her and her daughter with pull-ups, clothing and other essential items.
What types of donations does Little Essentials accept?
Diapers (open packs accepted)
New hygiene items (wipes, diaper cream, infant shampoo/wash)
Clothing (gently used accepted)
Pack n’ Plays
Carriers and Slings
Books and Toys appropriate for children 0-5 years
We are very particular about the quality of items we provide to our families, as we want them to feel respected and supported. We ask donors to please be considerate that items are clean and without stains or significant wear.
If someone wants to make donations to Little Essentials, how can they do that?
If someone is looking to donate items, they can visit the Donate Items section of our website. They will find our updated list of items we do / do not accept as well as directions for scheduling a drop off appointment. Due to COVID restrictions, we cannot accept donations without an appointment.
If someone is looking to make a monetary donation, they can visit our Donate Money page. All monetary donations go toward maintaining our small staff of three, providing transportation for orders to our families, community events like donation drives and more.
We are also trying to reach our goal of collecting 500 toys before December 10, to bring some holiday cheer to our families. Contributions to that goal can be made through our Amazon Wish List.