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Little Essentials (LE) is a community-based organization that helps keep families together by providing free baby and toddler (to age 4) clothing, gear, toys and other essential items to Brooklyn families living in poverty. Little Essentials helps keep children safe (in cribs, car seats and clothing); lifts the spirits and provides hope to their parents; and takes care of our environment by reusing items that are only briefly used.
Started in June 2010 by Sandie Trombert, a Brooklyn mother with a young child, Little Essentials is a community response to a community need. Trombert was inspired to action after noticing multiple listings for free baby items on her Fort Greene neighborhood parent list-serve. She recognized that low-income mothers may often lack basic necessities for their children and concluded that these items would be useful to local Brooklyn organizations that serve mothers living in poverty who do not have traditional sources of support. In May of 2011, Trombert founded Little Essentials as a non-profit organization. She along with a small group of volunteers still does the heavy lifting sorting, cleaning, storing and distribution. Her husband works full time in the day and picks up donations from donors and drops off order requests to LE’s partner organizations in the evenings.
Little Essentials collects new and gently used baby and toddler clothing, gear, and other essential items from families whose children have outgrown them and processes and distributes these items, as per request, to our partner organizations, currently twelve established social service organizations and hospitals: Healthy Start Brooklyn’s By My Side program; CAMBA; Safe Horizon; United Community Centers; Faith Hope and Charity; Queens Hospital Center; Excellence Foundation for Parents and Children; My Sister’s Keeper; Brooklyn Hospital PATH Center; Brookdale University Hospital Healthy Families NY; the Legal Aid Society Brooklyn; and Brooklyn Perinatal Network Inc.
LE solicits these product donations through neighborhood parent groups, list-serves, online social networks, and through word of mouth. LE offers a pick-up service (free of charge) for large items or large donations (at least 2 bags) in the local Brooklyn area. After collection of the items, LE cleans, processes, sorts and stores these items in a storage rental. Little Essentials ensures the safety of all items (checking product recalls, etc.) and distributes these items to families living in poverty in Brooklyn through its partner organizations who sign an agreement that all items will be distributed free of charge to families in need.
Little Essential helps keep babies and toddlers safe. Since its founding in June 2010, LE has helped 1020 children in need (68 in 2010; 667 in 2011) with gently used donations totaling $63,050 collected from 372 Brooklyn families. "LE has become an invaluable resource for the families I work with, providing them with much needed children’s clothes and high-ticket items such as strollers and bassinets. This organization makes a real difference. Thank you Sandie!" - Ms. Ammann, Healthy Start Brooklyn, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, "By My Side" Program.
Little Essentials helps keep families together."Thank you so much for your amazing efforts. I am so happy that [our patient, the HIV positive single mother] was able to receive all of the items she needed for her baby. When parents do not have needed resources to care for their new baby, the hospital may call the Administration for Children’s Services (ASC). By providing her with all of these wonderful items, Little Essentials has prevented this from happening. You have made such a huge difference. Thank you so much!" - Ms. Cruz, Certified Child Life Specialist, Brooklyn Hospital Center PATH.