While living a lovely life in New York City with her husband, Jerry Seinfeld, and their three children, Jessica Seinfeld’s soul is always with the families she helps through the charity she founded 12 years ago, Baby Buggy.
While pregnant with the couple’s first daughter, Jessica found that she was consumed with thoughts of how people in New York prepare for the birth of a baby in such an expensive city.
“I had always grown up having worries about money. And then while pregnant and about to have a child, I was consumed with worry for everyone else. I became really concerned about how other people were going to get through having a baby and preparing for it,” she says. “That really fueled me to start Baby Buggy and help New York families in need.”
What started as a way to reach struggling local families has grown into a national effort complete with a partnership with Target that helped Baby Buggy expand nationally to Chicago, Los Angeles and Dallas. Now, Baby Buggy distributes products through more than 50 carefully selected community-based organizations across the country and provides approximately 60,000 items each month—everything from nursery furniture, strollers, and toys to newborn and children’s clothing. Since Baby Buggy’s inception in 2001, it has donated over 5.7 million items.
“I can’t really believe the discrepancy, and how differently everyone lives from one another in New York City. It astounds me ever single day—the things that people are struggling with, versus the way other people live in this city. I feel so lucky and so grateful to be able to be on this side of helping people manage living, and day-to-day basics. I’d like to associate my soul with that, as opposed to the other lifestyle that I am lucky enough to be living. But my heart is with the people that we help everyday,” she says.
What keeps Jessica invested in Baby Buggy are the stories she hears everyday. “It always kills me when little boys have to wear their sister’s shoes to school. Or when a little girl is desperate for her first skirt, and it’s the middle of winter, but she doesn’t have a pair of tights. It’s these little things that are integral to young kids…just basics, but it’s also these little things that bring you to tears,” she said. “I don’t accept that little boys are going without sneakers because their families can’t afford them. It’s basic things that we, on a daily basis, don’t think about that affect the overall being in these children, and stress in children is totally inexcusable.”
Jessica not only finds creative ways to keep people giving items to the less fortunate, but also orchestrates unique partnerships whose proceeds go to Baby Buggy. The most recent collaboration was with fashion designer Rebecca Minkoff, who created a stylish nursing tank top for Bravado Designs with a portion of the proceeds going to the organization.
“Rebecca has been a great supporter of Baby Buggy for years. She is the most amazing woman and a brilliant entrepreneur and a mom on the go. We are so lucky to have her support. Everyone in the fashion industry knows her, but they should know she’s an amazing mother and does things for others.”
Jessica is succeeding in getting the attention of those who support the cause and also attracting stylish women who share a passion for quality products. She knows that women, especially in New York, are interested in fashion and through these collaborations she can reach another audience. “You are constantly giving as a mother, so it’s important to give back to yourself,” she says.
Looking ahead, Jessica will add a new cookbook to her already successful New York Times bestseller Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food and its followup, Double Delicious! Good, Simple Food for Busy, Complicated Lives. The new book, The Can’t Cook Book: Recipes for the Absolutely Terrified, will be released next fall.