Modern Family’s Julie Bowen has found a way to clean up clutter while helping little ones in need.
Julie Bowen with son John at theminisocial.com’s holiday-shopping event benefiting Baby2Baby
A COUPLE OF YEARS ago I started procreating like mad and am now the proud and overstressed mother of three boys. Like any new parent I was fairly terrified, and I wanted my babies to start out with all the “best” gear. Consequently I laid out untold amounts of money on buggy-snuggy-roller-bouncers with convertible awnings and three sound settings. The boys’ nontoxic, sustainably harvested wood cribs were lined in organic bumpers with stimulating—but not stress-inducing—mobiles dangling above. Strollers? We had singles, doubles, umbrella styles, travel styles and joggers, just to name a few. With the help of generous friends and family, in a few short months my husband and I successfully filled our home with every convenience—both necessary and totally extraneous—for baby-raising.
And in what seemed like a few short months, they had outgrown it all. The neglect-o-matic swing that lulled the boys to sleep with nature sounds and three swing settings? Relegated to the garage. The four Pack ’n Plays (because one never knows when one will need to pack ’n play)? Gathering dust at the bottom of the coat closet. The countless bouncy chairs—both minimalist chic and Vegas style? Stacked in a corner of the kitchen under a pile of coats and baby blankets. Oh, did I fail to mention the tsunami of baby blankets?
After realizing we could only fit half a car in our two-car garage because it had become a storage facility for barely used baby supplies, my husband and I sought a solution other than our local landfill. I heard about Baby2Baby from a friend and was instantly smitten with its mission. The brainchild of three Los Angeles moms, Marnie Owens, Lee Michel and Karis Jagger, Baby2Baby collects new and gently used baby items to distribute to local families in need. Starting in 2006 with only their own garages and cars, these remarkable women have collected, sorted and redistributed thousands of articles of baby gear that were gathering dust in garages just like ours. They now team up with more than 30 local organizations to make sure the supplies go directly to where they are needed most, from battered-women’s shelters to family health organizations.
I was saved. I donated. The gear went to needy families, and now I can occasionally even park in my garage. Visit baby2baby.org.
Fashion shoot: December 2013 issue of Los Angeles Confidential magazine.