Even though Miki Farris’ infant daughters had everything they could ever need or want, 28 years ago the young wife who grew up in poverty pondered the unthinkable. “Where would we turn if we could not afford to feed our children?” She hated the thought that other babies and toddlers were going without – just like she had to do when she was a little girl.
The ambitious mother turned to her Sunday school classmates and the problem struck a chord with them, too. Realizing that raising children took vast amounts of money and baby essentials that were quickly outgrown, the class donated funds and gently-used, in-kind baby gear: clothing, shoes, bottles, blankets and more. These items were given a second life in the hands of needy families. The financial donations were used to purchase formula, food and diapers.
After months of intense planning and labor, in 1984, Infant Crisis Services was born.
With the help of the village, Miki Farris raised a newborn church mission into a vital social service agency unlike any other in central Oklahoma. We are grateful our co-founder courageously chose not to ignore her destiny to create an emergency food and diaper pantry for the babies in her community. The work of our agency and her passion for rescuing innocent infants from hunger have given our us the privilege of providing formula, food and diapers for more than 200,000 babies and toddlers in Oklahoma for 32 years. Sadly, today, a new generation of countless babies and toddlers still go to bed hungry. Our vision for the future is that every baby and toddler statewide will receive the proper nutrition. Anything else is unthinkable.
We believe every baby and toddler deserves life's basic necessities. With the help of the community, Infant Crisis Services supplies life-sustaining formula and food as well as diapers and clothing for babies and toddlers in times of crisis. Infant Crisis Services serves more than 1,500 babies and toddlers in central Oklahoma each month.
As an emergency food and diaper pantry for needy babies and toddlers, we have five critical areas of need: financial donations, in-kind donations, volunteers and community ambassadors. By making a financial donation to our agency, our donors save the lives of children in crisis. This fiscal year, our agency requires $135,000 per month to provide formula, food and diapers to an average of 1,500 babies and toddlers in need. Every dollar counts. Clients who visit our agency receive clothing, books and toys. Sadly, we are unable to include these essentials in our budget. Therefore, we rely solely on the community's generosity to provide them for our clients. Donors are encouraged to donate new toiletries and gently used bottles, sippy cups, blankets and children’s clothing (sizes newborn to 4) to babies and toddlers who need them the most. Finally, we need volunteers and community ambassadors to donate their time to our mission. Devoted volunteers are key to implementing our program, serving as client intake specialists, playroom greeters, Hub assistants and administrative helpers. Savvy community ambassadors promote awareness by inviting members of their networks to experience a tour of our mission.
Infant Crisis Services is the only hunger-relief agency in central Oklahoma dedicated to helping needy babies and toddlers. It is an emergency food pantry that provides these little ones with the life-sustaining nourishment they need to grow and develop properly. We provide a week’s supply of formula, food, diapers, clothing and other essentials for babies and toddlers in crisis. Services are provided a maximum of five times during the child’s first 48 months. Appointments are available Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to noon at the Donald W. Reynolds Center in Oklahoma City. Infant Crisis Services is a privately funded, non-profit, 501(c)(3) federally tax exempt organization. Since 1984, Infant Crisis Services has served more than 200,000 babies and toddlers.
Infant Crisis Services has been serving the needy babies and toddlers in our community for 32 years. Such longevity is a blessing that has yielded years of success. With core values of compassion, kindness, respect and love as a foundation, we have built a simple project that has effectively fed, diapered and clothed more than 200,000 babies and toddlers in central Oklahoma. In 2013, Infant Crisis Services launched the BabyMobile, a mobile food and diaper pantry. Since it's inception, it has served almost 13,000 babies.
During a independent survey, 99 percent of respondents expressed that the formula, food and diapers provided by our organization met or exceeded their expectations after their second visit. People are highly-satisfied with the services received and are especially pleased with the way in which they have been served. Even so, under the direction of our board of directors, we continuously work to perfect our service delivery by setting and achieving strategic project and development goals, seeking feedback from our caretakers, board members and referral agencies and most recently, conducting need assessment and outcome measurement.
Research has proven that hunger can severely impact a fledgling generation. Babies and toddlers who experience the negative effects of hunger are more likely to endure lifelong consequences as a result of having limited access to nutritious foods. Since 85 percent of brain development occurs during the first three years of life and balanced nutrition is essential for such development, babies and toddlers are especially sensitive to hunger. Hunger puts their little bodies under stress, and prolonged stress weakens a baby's natural ability to fight illnesses. It can permanently affect their immunity and brain development leading to serious medical issues that could have been prevented by regular feedings and nutritious meals.
Infant Crisis Services’ mission is to provide life-sustaining formula, food and diapers to babies and toddlers in times of crisis. Our only project directly reflects our mission. In 2015, Infant Crisis Service provided these necessities to 18,500 babies and toddlers in central Oklahoma. We feed babies and toddlers who may otherwise go without food and nourishment.
Challenges: Access and Transportation
We regularly survey our clients routinely regarding their needs and the outcomes of our services. We have learned that the barriers/challenge to receiving our services lies primarily with access and transportation.
Many of our clients tell us they don't have the ability to utilize our services primarily due to a lack of transportation to our main location. Often they are without a car or if they do, gas is too costly. Our mass transit system is inefficient and takes all day, cabs are too costly and friends providing transportation are unreliable.
Opportunities: Improving Access and Transportation issues
In October of 2013, we took this challenge head on by unveiling a mobile baby pantry. Our BabyMobile provides our core services of baby formula, food and diapers to families who simply cannot travel to our northeast Oklahoma City location. The BabyMobile is open 4 to 5 days each week in areas strategically chosen. This improved access to our services is proving very successful and allows us to reach an additional 400 babies and toddlers each month.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
Copyright © 2014 Oklahoma City Community Foundation
1000 N. Broadway Ave., Oklahoma City, OK 73102