This week marked the 10th anniversary of Jessica Seinfeld’s nonprofit organization Baby Buggy, which is dedicated to providing families in need with essential equipment, clothing, products, and educational tools and services for their children. To celebrate, the Jessica and Jerry Seinfeld hosted the Baby Buggy Bedtime Bash in Central Park.
The busy mom of three talked to Celebrity Baby Scoop about her important fundraising efforts that have “donated 4.8 million items to families in need,” her famous hubby that “makes the house full of fun and laughter,” and their three kids: daughter Sascha, 10, and sons Julian, 8, and Shepherd, 5.
Celebrity Baby Scoop: Please tell us all about Baby Buggy and the Baby Buggy Bash 10th anniversary celebration?
Jessica Seinfeld: It’s still hard for me to believe that it’s been 10 years of deliveries! Given how small we started, the numbers amaze me: We now donate an average of 40,500 items each month to over 50 sites across the U.S., over 19,000 volunteers have helped us over the years, we’ve donated over 6,200 cribs to babies who might otherwise be put to bed in drawers or boxes.
We have a few events throughout the year to celebrate, including a party for our regular volunteers, and fundraising events to help continue our support to families in need. Sadly, while our capacity and number of donors have grown, so too has the need.
This week is the Baby Buggy Bedtime Bash, our yearly annual fundraiser at Victoria Gardens, which will help to kick off our Fatherhood Initiative. In July we are having our annual Summer Dinner in the Hamptons; this year the event is being sponsored by Reed Krakoff. And we will end the year with a big event in December with a performance by Jerry and a couple of star performers at Lincoln Center.
We are also planning a few events in L.A. this year in support of our work there, including an event sponsored by Britax, as well as events sponsored by Giggle and Alice+Oliva. People can join our Baby Buggy fan page on Facebook to keep up to date on our 10th anniversary events.
CBS: What inspired you to create this charity?
JS: After having our first child, I became instantly aware of the inequity of baby gear: some families have more than they need, or things they no longer need, while others don’t have what’s required to keep a baby healthy and happy. I just saw it as an opportunity to help ease this burden for other mothers who are struggling by redistributing basic necessities.
CBS: Who’s coming out to support the Baby Buggy Bedtime Bash?
JS: More than 1,000 parents and children attended the Bash. Of course, Baby Buggy’s board members and friends were there, as well as our wonderful supporters Bethenny Frankel, Tiffani Thiessen, Rosie Pope, George Stephanopoulos and Ali Wentworth, Kyle MacLachlan and Desiree Gruber, Cynthia Rowley, Erica Hill and Jeremy Sisto. We were most thrilled about our VIP guests: the fathers from the Bronx Fatherhood Program _ a mentorship program for young fathers _attended with their families.
CBS: How can we help out and/or donate?
JS: How lovely! Baby Buggy accepts online donations at http://babybuggy.org. We also greatly appreciate receiving gifts of gently used gear, clothing, and toys for infants to children up to age 12, so please visit our website or call (212) 736-1777 to find out how to arrange a donation.
CBS: What are some of the major milestones Baby Buggy has reached?
JS: Now that we are 10 years old, it’s really gratifying to look back. When you consider that we started as a weekend drive among my family and friends, I feel so appreciative of how far we’ve come. I’d say we are most proud that we have donated 4.8 million items to families in need, to date, and we are very much looking forward to reaching our 5 million item goal within the next few months.
Another milestone is, thanks to our wonderful partnership with Target and the dedication of our staff and volunteers, we are now serving families in need in six major U.S. cities outside of New York: Washington D.C., Chicago, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Los Angeles and Dallas.
CBS: Since Father’s Day is around the corner, we wanted to ask you about the fatherhood initiative. What are you hoping to accomplish?
JS: This year’s Bedtime Bash is the official kick off of our fatherhood initiative. We’ve partnered with three New York-based programs: the Bronx Fatherhood Program, Fathers First Initiative in Queens, and the Fathering Initiative at Forestdale in Queens. The programs help at-risk and young fathers gain the life skills, experience and knowledge to help them feel empowered to embrace fatherhood and its accompanying responsibilities.
We support the enrolled dads most often by providing them with the clothing and goods they need to keep their children safe. Statistics show that it’s essential for fathers to be involved in their children’s lives at a young age. Through the fatherhood initiative, we are supporting these active and engaged fathers by offering them tools that enable these at-risk young men to be great dads.
CBS: We absolutely love your cookbooks! Thanks for helping so many of us with mealtimes. With the heat you’ve received from them, do you have any regrets?
JS: To the contrary, I take some pride in having inspired some of the heated conversation around kids and food _ a debate that was long overdue. I simply maintain that it’s all about creating a balance between nutrition and family meals _ making foods that are better for my kids without being a purist; making sure they get the nutrients they need, but meeting them halfway with the foods they already like.
My approach clearly isn’t right for everyone, but I’ve been lucky enough to have heard from people through my website, Facebook page, and on Twitter about how they’ve been able to change the way their family’s eating because of my books. I’m hoping I can do more in the future to help.
CBS: How are your three kids doing? What are they into?
JS: Our three kids are definitely gearing up for summer. Sascha is going to sleepaway camp for her second summer, Julian will be playing baseball from sunrise to sunset, and Shep loves playing tennis. My boys are obsessed with Star Wars Legos and my daughter is horse crazy.
CBS: What kind of a dad is Jerry? Any special plans for Father’s Day?
JS: As one might imagine, Jerry makes the house full of fun and laughter. He also happens to be a great listener and has the patience of a saint. He has risen to fatherhood in a way that is uniquely him, and it’s wonderful to see how my kids relate to him _ and he to them _ as they get older.
For Father’s Day, the kids and I will cook breakfast for Jerry, and we’ll hit an afternoon Mets game. We will definitely go for a drive in our Volkswagen bus _ our new favorite family past-time! It’s an old restored one from the early 1960s with a fridge and a bed. Our kids cannot get enough of it.