Little Hands Virginia, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, provides essentials and a little extra love to children newborn to three years old in need in Central Virginia.
Little Hands Virginia fills a unique role in the ecosystem of support in the Greater Richmond region. We are focused on the early years, making sure children in Central Virginia are clean, healthy and cared for from day one. Ultimately by better supporting young children and their families, we can improve outcomes down the road.
Little Hands relies on big hearts in the community. Our organization collects new and gently-used items on an ongoing basis through regular donation hours, donation drives, and crowdsourcing. We also purchase needed items to keep our shelves stocked, and have developed strategic partnerships with national organizations and companies including Baby2Baby and McKesson.
When one of our over 60 partners submits a request on behalf of a child, we bundle up the items and deliver directly to the family’s door using our incredible army of over 200 volunteers.
When parents are faced with the challenge of not having enough money to buy diapers or they feel the cold and realize they don’t have the money for warm clothes it makes their job as a parent more stressful and that stress becomes demoralizing. The thing that makes Little Hands so special is they are not only providing essentials to babies and toddlers; they are helping preserve each mother’s dignity.
Every volunteer who carefully inspects and cleans the clothes and toys, every person places the donations in pretty bags with compassion, and every driver who gives their time to deliver the needed goods to doorsteps are ALL are showing these families respect and kindness they do not often experience. I’ve received calls from parents crying tears of joy after a delivery. They feel proud to dress their children in decent clothing and they feel relieved to have diapers for their little ones.
Little Hands Virginia was founded in 2019 by Taylor Keeney while she was on maternity leave with her daughter, Frances. Upon learning she was pregnant with her second child, Taylor went looking for a place to donate new and gently-used baby items to a mom that needed them and had a hard time finding a way to do that. Taylor started having conversations with leaders in the social services space about whether an organization like Little Hands was wanted or needed. The answer was immediately yes.
Taylor couldn’t let the problem go and instead used her maternity leave in 2019 to file paperwork and put all the pieces together of what today is Little Hands Virginia. The organization launched in Taylor’s garage in August of 2019 with five partners, and shortly after moved to a storage unit which we quickly outgrew. In the fall of 2019, Little Hands moved into space generously offered to us by Second Baptist Church, and in December of that year we celebrated helping our 100th child. By the new year we had grown to working with over a dozen community partners to identify children in need of support.
The Covid-19 pandemic shifted things dramatically for Little Hands. School closures, furloughs, lay-offs and quarantining led to a dramatic increase in need in our community, and a literal doubling of requests overnight for support from our organization. We shifted our model to keep our doors open and began delivering requests directly to family’s doors no contact – a change we have kept still today. In the fall of 2020 we hired our first paid staff person, Ashley Raggi, and started looking for office space as we had outgrown the room donated to us by Second Baptist.
By April of 2021 we had refreshed the office space we are in today which is centrally located, easy to access, and off a bus line – three requirements for our move. At that point, Little Hands was working with over 20 partners and serving an average of 75 children a month.
Today, Little Hands has built a network of over 60 community partners to identify children and families in need of support and fills over 180 direct requests for items each month.