DU Alumni / Magazine Feature / People

Alums’ nonprofit provides free baby gear to needy families

Jayme Ritchie, left, with daughter Sophia, and Sunny Heydorn, right, with son Cash, started WeeCycle Colorado to help families in need. Photo: Wayne Armstrong

As new moms, Sunny Heydorn (JD ’02) and Jayme (Ship) Ritchie (JD ’04, LLM ’04) found out firsthand just how expensive baby gear — strollers, cribs, car seats — really is. And they realized just how quickly kids grow out of things, often leaving perfectly good items behind.

So, inspired by similar groups in other states, the pair of DU law grads founded WeeCycle, a nonprofit that collects gently used baby gear and distributes it to needy families.

“When you have your first [child] you’re all consumed with infant things, and we just realized how expensive everything was and how much you needed,” Ritchie says. “Kids grow up so fast, and they grow out of things so quickly that sometimes something you just spent $100 for is pretty much useless in three months.”

Founded in 2008, WeeCycle has seven drop-off locations in the Denver area and partners with five community organizations that distribute the gear. The goal is not only to help needy families, but also to keep usable items out of landfills.

Along with the essentials, Heydorn and Ritchie also include some bonus goodies for the families.

“We like to know how many children they have and what ages they are because we always throw in some extra toys or books that are age appropriate for the child, or if it’s a new mom who’s trying to nurse we’ll throw in a bunch of extra stuff we have for a nursing mom that they might not think of to request,” Heydorn says. “They’re just trying so hard to meet their basic needs that they think about strollers or car seats and maybe not about a nursing pillow.”

With the economy still at a record low, WeeCycle is a welcome service for families living in poverty. A simple baby swing could mean a better life, Heydorn says.

“It just affects every aspect of a child’s development down the line,” she says. “This isn’t going to solve all their problems, but it might help a little bit. Maybe a swing is going to keep an infant more content and the parent more at peace because their infant’s not crying all the time. Maybe that’ll help make life a little bit better for them.”

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5 Comments

  1. Hi name is Brittaney wooley i am 20 years old and a single mother of 2 we live in oregon but i have a 1 year old and a 2 month old. I had to drop out of high school and have not been able to find a job i have no money and barly anything for my kids, my 2 month old was born with a single vessel umbilical cord and is also has colic, i have no money to pay for swings double strollers or the nessesities. I am wondering if you can do anything to help.

  2. hello my name is mesiah and i have 3 kids 1,3,9 and another one on the way i am needing some help with getting baby stuff for my baby who will be here in july i have no job and my husband is working to keep bills caught up and haven’t been able to get baby stuff yet can someone please help.

  3. Maria juarez says:

    Hi i have a three month old boy i have nothing for him i was wondering if u guys can help mi out please i am a single mother of 15 years old please give mi your number help mi out please and thank you

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