Spotlight: Jamie Lackey - CEO of Helping Mamas

Jamie Lackey is the CEO of Helping Mamas here in Atlanta. She has built and is continuing to grow an amazing organization that we are honored to support because of the impactful work they do distributing diapers and period products to those in need. Jamie’s commitment to helping others, passion for driving change and love of community makes her a great leader.  Read on to discover why she started Helping Mamas, how they are making a difference and what you can do to help!

As a reminder, through April, Romp + Tumble is donating 15% of all sales to Helping Mamas!

Tell us a little about yourself 

I have been married to my husband for 21 years this May and have two children who are the absolute joys in life: my daughter is 14 and my son is almost 11. We live in Gwinnett County (Atlanta area) and have 2 crazy dogs to complete our family. We are die hard Tennessee Vol fans (even through the rough years..I was born and raised in Knoxville, TN so we come by it honestly). Our family loves sports and we can’t wait until we can watch sports in-person again. We are season ticket holders for Atlanta United. We love the Braves and Falcons. 

I started Helping Mamas 7 years ago and have never looked back. It has been such an honor to work alongside some amazing people to serve our community. I love my job, it never feels like a job. 

What motivated you to build Helping Mamas? 

Several things motivated me to start Helping Mamas. One was my love of motherhood. I loved being a mom but it was also the hardest thing I had ever done. And that was with an incredible support system behind me. I wanted all mothers to feel that joy and support so the idea of Helping Mamas was born. 

I have an undergraduate and graduate degree in Social Work. I have been a social worker for my entire career - It has always been my passion. As a social worker I knew how scarce resources for infants and children are. There was no coordinated effort to collect and distribute essential baby items. I saw firsthand social workers spending most of their days looking for the most basic resources for these families and I knew that we could create something better: a coordinated effort to get baby supplies to women and children in need. 

What’s your “why?” 

My why is that one in three moms has had to choose between food and diapers for their children. That one in four women have reported missing work or school because of a lack of access to period supplies. Public Assistance programs like WIC and Food Stamps don’t allow for the purchase of these critical items. Without diapers children can’t attend child care. Without child care, parents can’t work. No individual that needs period products should ever miss out on life because they don’t have access to period products. My why is to make sure no one has to make these gut wrenching decisions again. 

Has COVID changed how you parent?  

As a parent you hate to see your kids disappointed. I felt like in 2020 the only thing constant was disappointment from canceled camps, vacations and holidays. It has taught me to say yes whenever possible to opportunities for my kids to be with friends and family. We have learned creative ways to see our village and make sure those connections are still strong. It has helped me to look for the joy in every little thing we do get to do. I just keep reminding myself that these moments are so precious. Pre-covid we rushed through life. Now I know how good it can feel to slow down and be very present and engaged with my kids and my spouse. 

What about 2021 excites you? 

So many things excite me about this year! In 2020, we learned to pivot at Helping Mamas and make our services more available and accessible to our community. We have launched our mobile program with our brand new van! This year we will be all around our community distributing essential items to families at safe drive through events. It is a great way to get these items into the community and offer volunteer opportunities that were lost in 2020. Keep an eye out for the Helping Mamas van! She is on the move. If you are interested in getting involved with our mobile program from volunteering at an event or hosting a donation drive email demitrah@helpingmaams.org.

Who is part of your community and how have enriched your life? 

So many people are a part of my community. Professionally, I am surrounded by the greatest team ever. I work with incredible people who believe in our mission. From our staff, to our VISTA Members to our board of directors. They are all engaged and passionate about our work. They make it a joy to come to work.

Personally, my husband, my friends (shout out to the Platts and Manleys!), my parents and family. They pick me up when I am down. They keep me going when I don’t want to. They step in and help with our family when needed. It truly takes a village to raise a family and I am surrounded by the best. 

Is there a quote that inspires you?  

Legendary Tennessee Lady Vols Basketball Coach Pat Summit has some of my favorite quotes, one of them being: “Here's how I'm going to beat you. I'm going to outwork you. That's it. That's all there is to it."

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