They say it takes a village to raise a child, and it’s true. No parent can do it all by themselves, nor should they have to. Providing the essentials (food, water, clothing and shelter) is a given many of us take for granted. But for many, providing even the basics is difficult. Cincinnati has the second highest child poverty rate in the US, with over half its children living below the poverty line. This problem isn’t exclusive to the city; it also extends throughout Cincinnati’s suburban and rural counties.
In 2017, Give Like a Mother (GLAM) was founded by Amy Vann to provide clothing and essentials to impoverished children in the tristate. In the last two years, GLAM has provided clothing packs to over 1,200 children and families in need — over 900 in 2019 alone. Cincinnati Parent spoke with Amy about GLAM’s meteoric rise, how parents can support the cause and what it means to ‘give like a mother’.
Where did the idea for GLAM originate?
I’ve always been very service driven — I always loved going on mission trips or serving with my church, family or college groups. In 2007, my husband and I moved to Cincinnati to complete my anesthesia training at the University of Cincinnati. Soon after, we started a family and were blessed with a son and daughter. After a few years [in the] baby and toddler world, I was looking for ways to get involved with helping children. I have, what I describe as, an almost debilitating heart for abused, neglected or underserved children.
It was in a church service where I first got the idea of starting GLAM. The speaker challenged us to discover what you’re “supposed to do” — he encouraged us to be brave and think big … even if it seemed impossible. That day I was supposed to meet some people from Facebook Marketplace, where I’d been selling baby clothing and equipment we no longer needed. I was going to make over $250 that day, [but] I felt moved to give away the items for free. All three ladies cried and told me different stories of how much they were struggling — it was so freeing. That day was [essentially] the beginning of Give Like a Mother.
What does it mean to “Give Like a Mother”?
We love our name partly because it’s fun and sassy — like us! However, behind the name is a tough meaning. As mothers, we give everything to allow our children to have the best shot at a good life. Some mothers do not have that opportunity, or have made decisions that do not allow their children’s needs to be met. Whatever the case, it’s not the child’s fault, and they should never have to suffer. If everyone gave like a mother, no child would be in need.
One of the things GLAM provides is a clothing pack: five shirts, five pants, five pairs of socks and five pairs of underwear. What is the significance of this?
I have a huge heart for kids who are bullied — for all reasons — but especially for not having enough. We decided on a school week’s worth of clothing, so we could give [kids] the opportunity to wear a different outfit each day. In doing this, we hope to combat some of the ridicule that children endure, and that they feel proud of what they wear to ultimately make them want to go to school. We hope that without the distraction of humiliation — and with a higher self-esteem — they will perform better academically and have a better chance of changing the trajectory of their life. We hope to be a small part of breaking the cycle of generational poverty.
How can Cincinnati parents help GLAM?
One of the biggest ways is by donating gently used clothing. The number of children we can serve greatly depends on the amount of quality donations we receive. We are located in Batavia and drop offs are always welcome! Parents can use this as a volunteer opportunity with your children is to host a clothing drive or a “new socks and underwear” drive. This is an easy way to make a huge impact.
We are always in need of professional volunteers, warehouse assistance and monetary donations. Parents can visit our website at givelikeamother.com and choose “Give Funds,” “Give Time” or “Give Items” in order to make an impact!