A Moment that Matters for a Lifetime
This mission statement is placed on the wall behind the desk of Jo Lynne Jones, Director of Development and Communications at Infant Crisis Services. A simple, yet vital mission for the thousands of babies and children the OKC nonprofit organization provides for every single year.
“We’re here for whatever reason,” Jones says. “It can be a family living in poverty, or it could just be a moment in time. It could be a family that’s always done fine, but they suddenly have a preemie baby and they’re living in the Ronald McDonald House, and they have all these expenses.”
Infant Crisis Services provides diapers, formula, clothing, and food for babies and children, ages newborn to four years, in a time of crisis. The organization isn’t only geared toward those stricken by generational poverty, but anyone who has a “moment,” as Jones calls it.
“We can help,” Jones states. “No matter what the reason, we want to be there to help them. The children shouldn’t have to pay the consequences for the situation.”
The organization has provided for thousands since it was founded, nearly thirty years ago by Executive Director, Miki Farris. She asked the question that changed the course of her life and the lives of so many others: what do families do who cannot provide formula and diapers for their babies? That spark of a question lit a fire that has seen enormous growth in three decades.
The organization operates not only with a wonderful staff, but also with a host of dedicated volunteers.
“We love our volunteers; we couldn’t do it without them,” Jones says. “We probably have more volunteers than actual staff here on a daily basis. In fact, we have volunteers who have been here longer than I have. That’s commitment.”
When children and caretakers walk through the doors, they can expect to find a warm and welcoming atmosphere, free of judgment. The organization’s gorgeous building has a play area for their child-clients, with plenty of toys and cribs.
“We wanted to make this place comfortable,” Jones says. “Children don’t cry to come in, they cry because they don’t want to leave. We have a wonderful place.”
While the babies play, caretakers are given the opportunity to ‘shop’ in the warehouse.
“What we provide is a week’s worth of food, formula, and diapers and the shopping experience five times, per baby,” Jones says. “And that five times can be used once a week for five consecutive weeks, or it can be spread out over months or years. Our client is from newborn, to four years, so it kind of depends on the situation how people will use those five visits.”
These visits, Jones says, often bridge the gap between what other agencies are providing. Other organizations, such as WIC and DHS, can often have waiting periods up to several weeks before meeting the needs of their clients.
“At the end of the day, there’s a baby that’s fed and has a dry diaper tonight,” she says. “You can’t imagine that there are kids who will go to bed hungry or who will sleep in a filthy diaper, but there are so many. It’s so important to meet that need early.”
Jones says the organization has studied research over child development within the first three years of life, and that the lack of proper nutrition can lead to learning disabilities, developmental delays, and a number of other issues.
“If we’re not caring for them now, we will pay down the line,” Jones claims. “It sounds like a small thing, but it matters long term for their future. The children shouldn’t have to pay the consequences for the situations they are in.”
To make an appointment, call Infant Crisis Services: 405-528-1290. Also, be sure to check out their website for information on Baby Mobile, the mobile formula, diaper, and food pantry that travels around the metro several days a week, no appointment or referral necessary. Visit infantcrisis.org/babymobile for the full calendar.
Photography by Emily Brashier