A Conversation with Jean Ann Lynch
- Why did you found Baby Basics?
Child development has always been important to me, but what got my attention was when I realized that many babies from low-income working families did not have enough money to provide an adequate supply of diapers for their babies. The thought of babies having to be in diapers too long and crying from diaper rash was unthinkable to me.
I decided to do something about it. I founded the first Baby Basics program over 19 years ago in Ridgewood, NJ because I wanted all babies to have a chance to grow and thrive like my children and grandchildren. There are now 13 sites across the country including the Collier County program.
- Why is Baby Basics so important to these families and to the community?
We are the only organization that provides free diapers on a consistent basis to low-income working families. These families depend on us and are so grateful for our help. At our distribution sites, they tell us about how the money they would normally spend on diapers goes to buy food, pay rent or purchase medicine for their babies. The entire family feels the impact as we also provide a supportive atmosphere and community for these struggling families. It is a simple program, but one that is so needed.
- What is your biggest challenge?
Our biggest challenge is trying to raise enough money to reach all the babies in need in our community. We have a large waiting list.
- How do you remain so passionate and inspired?
My family inspires me, as do the over 100 volunteers in Naples who work so hard to support our families and the participants in the program. Despite their struggles, the families work hard to provide for their families. They love their babies and are so grateful for any kind of love and support that we can give. They say thank you and give us hugs, and when they are having a good week, they offer to give their diapers to another family. To me, that is truly inspirational.