No Baby Steps for Baby Buggy Charity



Jessica Seinfeld and husband Jerry Seinfeld celebrate the ten year anniversary of her charity Baby Buggy with a lighting ceremony at the Empire State Building, located at 34th Street and Fifth Avenue. Photo: Alex Contratto

What’s the price of admission for a charity gala with Jessica Seinfeld (and comedian husband Jerry) at Lincoln Center?  One hundred twenty-five dollars and a gently used crib or stroller.  In a daylong celebration that began with a lighting ceremony at the Empire State Building and culminated with a charity gala featuring Jerry Seinfeld and others performing their routine standup, Baby Buggy celebrated its tenth anniversary in style.

The Seinfelds appeared recently to promote Jessica Seinfeld’s charity, Baby Buggy, at the Empire State Building, located at 350 Fifth Avenue between 34th and 33rd Streets, which was lit in blue and green to commemorate Baby Buggy’s decade of achievement.  The Seinfelds flipped the switch to unveil the building’s colors for the evening, followed by a brief statements about Baby Buggy, atop the Observation Deck.

“This occasion is in celebration of the tenth anniversary of Baby Buggy and its dedication for providing for families in-need with essential equipment, products, clothing, and educational services for their infants and children across the country,” said Melanie Maasch, Director of Brand Development and Public Relations for the Empire State Building.  “As you look skyward tonight, we hope that our lights act as a thank you to all the individuals associated with Baby Buggy, who have been committed to helping families over the past decade.”

Baby Buggy’s mantra is “Love. Recycled,” the motto for their effort to distribute new and gently used essential items for in-need families.  Baby Buggy works alongside various community-based organizations (CBOs), who apply for a partnership with Baby Buggy in order to receive items including cribs, strollers, clothing, diapers, and bottles, serving on average 1,480 children per month.  Recipients of these donations include children, parents, and families who fall into various categories such as living in shelters or homeless, living below the poverty line, single mothers, victims of domestic violence, and individuals with special needs.  Baby Buggy also has programs in Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, and Washington, D.C.

“As a native New Yorker it is such a huge honor to be here and light these iconic lights on behalf of an organization I absolutely had no idea would, ten years later, be thriving and so important to the most vulnerable and deserving children in New York City,” said Jessica Seinfeld, president and founder of Baby Buggy.  “It is a testament to the generosity of New York and the people who live here that have made our success possible.”

Baby Buggy began after the devastation of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, where Jessica Seinfeld found her inspiration to provide donations to the families in need at that time.  Soon after, Seinfeld initiated the first Baby Buggy clothing drive at Chelsea Market, hired her first employees, and in 2002 began giving monthly donations to social service sites in New York City.  With corporate sponsorships from Target, The Children’s Place, Credit Suisse, Kimberly-Clark, NetJets, and Bank of America, the company continued to grow.

The Baby College, located at West 134 Street and Frederick Douglass Boulevard, as a component of Harlem Children’s Zone, is one of the CBOs to which Baby Buggy donates essential items.  The Baby College serves in-need families with children ranging from newborns to toddlers. “We’ve been very happy to be recipients of the items,” said Marty Lipp, Communications Director for Harlem Children’s Zone.  “It’s been very helpful to the families that we care about, and it’s been a great relief for the families and for us to get so many of these necessary and quite often expensive items.”

The Baby College and Harlem Children’s Zone remain committed to raising and developing healthy children in Harlem through their free services.  Enrolling families through door-to-door solicitations, in church groups, or even at laundromats, Harlem Children’s Zone serves people based on a geographic requirement and not a financial basis, although many recipient families live within low-income districts in Harlem.  “The families either can’t or have great difficulty” purchasing these items said Lipp.  They must face “‘Do I buy diapers or food?’ kind of choices, which are obviously very difficult decisions to make.  Or ‘Do I buy a crib or do without?’ That kind of thing.”

Jerry Seinfeld has lent his celebrity to his wife’s organization.  In 2008, the event entitled “An Evening with Jerry Seinfeld and Friends” raised over $1.4 Million for Baby Buggy from a mixture of corporate gifts and ticket sales for the publicized event.  In celebration of the tenth anniversary, this year Seinfeld appeared alongside The Daily Show host Jon Stewart, Saturday Night Live alum Colin Quinn, and ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos at Avery Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center.  Individual tickets for the gala dinner started at $125 each, while VIP packages began at $500.

“I really think this is why we are still here, because there is no place like New York that would take hold of an idea and help it grow,” said Jessica Seinfeld. “We are honored that in the past ten years we have distributed basic essentials:  baby gear, clothes, things that make life so much more bearable for people who are struggling.  Five million of these items have been re-distributed by Baby Buggy, and that was again all thanks to the generosity of New York’s individual families and corporate partners all across the country.”