Little Hands Virginia operates four programs. Click on the buttons below to jump to the program you are interested in.
Diaper + Distribution
Child Safety Fund
Diaper Bag Project
INDIVIDUAL SUPPORT FOR CHILDREN
Little Hands Virginia’s largest program is providing individualized support to families for their young children. Working through our network of 60+ partners, Little Hands identifies families most in need of support and the specific items needed to ensure the youngest members of the family are clean, healthy and cared for.
Every item we provide serves a purpose – whether to provide comfort, support development, encourage early literacy, or promote safety.
Throughout the year we take in new and gently-used in-kind donations from the community which volunteers help to sort and store for us until needed. At Little Hands, one of our guiding mottos is “Quality is dignity.” We make sure that every item meets our quality standard.
We also purchase many items to keep our shelves stocked and make sure we have critically needed items through partnerships with wholesale companies including McKesson, and receive bulk donations of diapers and other items through our partnership with Baby2Baby.
Each request is carefully packed by a volunteer or staff member. In every request we make sure to include at least one age appropriate book and toy for the child. By doing so, we play a role in helping more economically disadvantaged children reach critical developmental milestones, including encouraging reading to children at a young age and learning through play.
In 2022, Little Hands filled over 1,600 direct requests for assistance from our partners. The vast majority of these requests were delivered directly to the family’s doorstep by our army of over 200 volunteers.
Delivery directly to families was a pivot we made during Covid when our partner’s offices closed but we knew because of the dramatic increase in need in our community that we needed to keep our program going. It’s a pivot we intend to keep. By delivering to the family and carefully placing at their door, we are reducing a huge barrier to receiving support – availability and transportation – while also showing the family that we care.
Diaper+ Distribution Network
Little Hands Virginia regularly stocks diapers and other basic essentials for partners across the region to distribute to their patients and clients. By providing diapers to partners we are helping reduce diaper need in our community.
We also provide wipes, baby soap, lotion, and diaper cream in bulk to partners that want to keep it on hand to have readily available.
While bulk distribution has always been a part of our model, many of our bulk partnerships began during the global Covid-19 pandemic. A perfect example is our relationship with VCU Health. Early on in the pandemic, VCU Health saw a dramatic increase in children coming into the emergency department with diaper rash and other health issues because the family could not find diapers on shelves, or suddenly could not afford diapers and were stretching the ones they had. When VCU Health called and asked if we could help stock diapers in the emergency room, without hesitation we said, “YES.” We continue to stock diapers at VCU Health for any family who comes into the emergency department or clinic and is experiencing diaper need. It also has led to us supporting children on an ongoing basis through our individual support program by referral from social workers throughout the VCU Health network and the Children’s Hospital of Richmond.
We continue to grow our diaper and basic essentials stocking program, and are happy to supply any of our partners with a bulk supply on a monthly basis. If you are a partner who is interested in receiving bulk items from us, please contact Taylor Keeney or Ashley Raggi. The same goes for an organization who is not currently a partner but is interested in becoming one.
CHILD SAFETY FUND
Little Hands Virginia developed the Child Safety Fund in 2022 recognizing the need for an organization in Central Virginia to strategically distribute certain items that are a significant cost barrier to low-income families but are critical to keeping children safe – including pack n plays, car seats, strollers, and high chairs.
Little Hands has recently received grants from the Robins Foundation and the city of Richmond to directly support our child safety program and in 2023 and 2024 we will be strategically ramping up the distribution of these items to low-income families.
We are the region’s emergency supplier of car seats. While the Virginia Department of Health operates a low-income safety seat program (which provides one car seat for free to low-income families), not every family has access to this program for a variety of reasons.
We want to ensure every family is transporting their young children safely in the car. Reasons we often address car seat need include: newborns about to be discharged from the hospital; families identified by a police officer or sheriff’s deputy as being in need of a car seat; unable to attend the required class obtain a car seat; the program is unavailable in their locality; or, for another reason the parent unable to get one through their local health department but has verified by a social worker as need based.
We also want to make sure every child has a safe place to sleep at night. Pack n plays are one of our most requested “gear” items from partners to reduce the chance of SIDS and make sure young children sleep in an age appropriate environment. For most of the families we serve, pack n plays are a much more reasonable sleeping solution than a crib because of small or transitional living situations. Pack n plays also help provide a safe place to set a mobile child down for a small amount of time.
Strollers and highchairs are other critical gear items to increase safety and assist with reaching developmental milestones. The Greater RIchmond region is not a public transportation-friendly area and families who do ride the bus often have to walk far distances in one direction or the other. Strollers help families safely move their children from point A to point B, and also get out of the house and do things with their children. High chairs, and learning to eat and sit, are another big developmental milestone for children that we are helping reach.
If you are a partner or potential funder interested in learning more about the Child Safety Fund, please reach out to Taylor Keeney.
The Diaper Bag Project
*NEW IN 2023* More information is coming soon!
This year we will be launching “The Diaper Bag Project,” a new initiative to provide a diaper bag filled with basic essentials to economically disadvantaged families that need one in the region. Little Hands soft launched this program in Q4 of 2022, and will be announcing more information soon.
If you are interested in holding a donation drive to help us kick-off The Diaper Bag Project, more information is below.
The Diaper Bag Project Drive:
Consider holding a drive to help stuff diaper bags for The Diaper Bag Project. We regularly package all of this up for new babies and now are going to keep them ready to go in the office. Hold a drive for all or some of these items to help us assemble the diaper bags, or hold a drive to fully assemble diaper bags before bringing them to our office. This can be done as gender neutral or gender specific.
Stuff a Diaper Bag
(all items must be new)
Wipes (1 package)
We maintain an Amazon Wish List specifically for The Diaper Bag Project here: https://a.co/gvfoqyD. All of these items are also available at places like Target and Walmart for low prices.