We had the good fortune of connecting with Jamie Lackey and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jamie, what’s the most important thing you’ve done for your children?
I hope the most important thing I have taught my children is that one person can make a difference. I had an idea to create a baby supply bank to help others. They watched me start it out of our home and have seen it grow to serve 30,000 individuals a year. They have seen me struggle and celebrate. They have grown up with Helping Mamas. I hope that they have seen that using their skills and talents to help others is important, that giving back is important, that trying hard is important, and never giving up is essential.
What should our readers know about your business?
I started and run a nonprofit, but I run it on a business model. So often nonprofits forget they should be profitable. We have a mission to support. That takes funding, talented staff, and a broad base of supporters. We are transparent in our operations and don’t apologize for running efficiently and effectively. I feel like this is what sets us apart from many nonprofits. That and the fact that we have a unique mission and model. Helping Mamas is a baby supply bank. We collect and distribute essential items to organizations that serve women and children in need. We collect diapers, wipes, clothes, bottles, period supplies, basically anything a child needs from birth to age 12. We collect these items in our warehouse and then social workers at our partner agencies come and “shop” for items they need for their families. Our model is designed to walk alongside both families living in poverty and the nonprofits that are serving them. We fill a gap in services that were not previously being met. The social workers we work with now spend more time focusing on direct service with their clients and less time looking for resources. The families now can focus on the direct service being provided and not having to worry about diapers. I am most proud that we have built a community where people can come and give back. They come to donate and volunteer and become a part of our Helping Mamas family. We have evolved to become a place for volunteers to gather and know they are having an immediate impact on their community. They can see the time they spend volunteering with us directly impacts women and children. Our organization got to where we are today by having a strong grassroots network to help us grow. We had a lot of moms get behind our mission from the beginning and really push to make us grow. I felt that the best strategy was to engage people that could connect with our mission and train them to be our advocates in the community. This helped us build a strong base of support and spread the word to many different groups about the work we were doing. This strategy, in the beginning, was definitely a lot of work. It took time to encourage and get people invested. But as we grew, our network grew. We now have a formal Ambassador Program where people commit to serving with us for one year and be our advocates in the community. They help us raise funds, donations, support our events, and volunteer with us. Nothing about building a business is easy. It comes with so many challenges. It is a constant roller coaster ride. You have to surround yourself with people who believe in you, will challenge you, push you past your comfort zone, and cheer you along. When people hear “Helping Mamas,” I want them to think of us as advocates for women and children living in poverty. That we are a place that makes a meaningful impact on the lives of women and children. We are helping to empower them. We celebrate the incredible work being done by the families we are fortunate enough to walk alongside. We are their cheerleaders and we believe in them.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Atlanta has a lot of fantastic places to visit. I would start with Ponce City Market and then head over to the Beltline for some sunshine and shopping. I would then end the day at Mercedes Benz stadium cheering on Atlanta United. If we had a full weekend we would head to SunTrust Park one day to catch a Braves game. Atlanta has so many fun unique neighborhoods filled with shops and great places to eat. And we love our sports teams here! Atlanta United has one of the exciting atmospheres in all of all sports. You have to go to a game when you are in town and get caught up in the excitement of the “Five Stripes.” SunTrust Park offers so many great places to eat and hang out with friends while cheering on our beloved Braves.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are so many people that deserve a shout-out! I could not do this without the love and support of my family and friends. My husband, children, and parents have been so supportive of Helping Mamas and pushed me to keep going. Our best friends Katie and Keith Platt have believed in Helping Mamas from the beginning. They have encouraged, supported, and pushed me along this journey. We wouldn’t be where we are today without them. Our two National Networks have always been an amazing support system. The Baby2Baby National Network and The National Diaper Bank Network have provided guidance, mentoring, and support of like-minded professionals to help keep our growth going!
Linkedin: Helping Mamas
Hannah Lozano Amanda Duke