Meet a Mom: Meet Jamie Taratoot! | Lincoln Park Area Moms

Hi Everyone! It’s time for Lincoln Park Moms Meet a Mom Monday! This week’s Meet a Mom feature is Jamie Taratoot, Hyde Park mom and founder of EveryMom Chicago!

This holiday season, EveryMom Chicago donors sponsored 41 families at a local domestic abuse nonprofit – ensuring that multiple gifts were delivered to 109 children and 41 moms. Such great news to kick off the new year!

Read our interview below, where Jamie shares more about what led her to found Everymom Chicago, her favorite parts about being a mom, and some other fun tidbits! Jamie also shares ways that our readers can get involved with Everymom Chicago, so be sure to take note as you’re looking for great ways to give back to the community in 2022!

If you are a local mom that would like to be featured in our “Meet a Mom” series, please send an email to [email protected]



 

Hi Jamie! Thanks for speaking with us today. Can you tell us a little about yourself? 
 
I’m a mom of 2 and the founder of a nonprofit called EveryMom Chicago which provides newborn, postpartum, and nursing kits to moms in under resourced communities across Chicago.
 
 
Where are you from originally, and what brought you to Chicago? 
 
I’m originally from Atlanta, but lived in New York for most of my adulthood (almost 18 years). A few years ago my husband got a job at the University of Chicago and we relocated our family. We love it and feel so fortunate to live here!
 
How many kids do you have, and what are their ages? 
 
We have 2 daughters – May, 4 (almost 5!) and Margaret, 2. We also have two dogs, Pearl and Theo (pronounced “Beo” by our daughters).
 
 
What is your favorite part about being a mom? 
 
Everything. Honestly just thinking about this question makes me emotional. My mother passed away when I was very little, so just being able to give my daughters the love and support that I missed out on is the most wonderful gift on earth. Being a mom is by far the greatest joy of my life and the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.
 
Which neighborhood do you call home? Do you have any favorite local businesses that you like to frequent? 
 
We currently live in Hyde Park. Our favorite local businesses are Virtue (amazing food!), Build Coffee,  57th Street Books, Kido (owned by a lovely, local Hyde Park mom), Adorable Baby, and Wesley’s Shoes.
 
What are your favorite things to do in the city with your kids?
 
Anything outdoors! We’re very close to the water so in warmer months we love to go to the beach, play in the sand, and ride our bikes along the water. We also love going to the Lincoln Park Zoo and in pre-covid times, visiting the city’s wonderful public libraries.
 
Can you tell us a little about your career journey, and how it led you to found EveryMom Chicago? 
 
I actually spent most of my career working for a major financial institution in marketing, communications, and policy development. I was a project manager and regularly rotated around the business to contribute to special projects. However I’ve always been an active volunteer (starting as a young teenager), very community-minded, and interested in nonprofit work.
 
At the beginning of COVID, I came across a young woman who was expecting her first child, had lost her job due to pregnancy related illness and had a series of other things going on that left her unprepared for her baby. I reached out to my community of parents and simply asked “does anyone have extra baby supplies they don’t need?” and the response was overwhelming. If you’re lucky enough to have a baby shower, you often end up with duplicates and many items you never even open or use. Thanks to the generosity of parents in my network, I was able to deliver a car full of supplies to this mom. I packaged everything beautifully so it would feel like a mini-shower. I did this for a few other moms I came across through my volunteer work and from there it evolved into a formal nonprofit, which is now EveryMom Chicago. In short we provide all of the key essentials a mom would need to bring baby home from the hospital. We’re grounded in the belief that every mom, regardless of circumstance, deserves to feel preparedsupported, and celebrated.
 
 
 
Tell us everything we need to know about EveryMom Chicago! 
 
EveryMom Chicago is a not-for-profit organization that connects new and expectant mothers in underserved communities with material and support-based resources for the critical early weeks of parenthood. We create newborn, postpartum, and nursing kits to ensure that mothers in under resourced communities have the key essentials needed to care for baby and themselves. The kits are beautifully packaged and meant to feel special, dignified, and celebratory. The kits include a selection of seasonally appropriate clothing, sleep sacks, burp cloths, bibs, infant tub and towel, baby toiletries, thermometer, board book, pacifiers, teether, lovey, postpartum supplies to help moms following birth, including thick maxi pads, perineal cold packs, disposable underwear, and toiletries; and breastfeeding supplies, including nursing pads, breastmilk storage bags, lanolin, and hydrogel cooling pads.
 
In addition to the material items, each kit contains a resource guide connecting mom with free resources in the community (i.e. where to access free diapers, carseats, lactation support, postpartum counseling, trauma counseling, domestic abuse assistance, housing assistance, and more). We partner with three south side hospitals as well as a number of nonprofit organizations to identify families that could benefit from EveryMom kits. Our nonprofit partners include domestic abuse shelters, refugee resettlement agencies, anti-violence organizations, and familial based nonprofits.
 
 
 
What are some of the ways that our readers can get involved with EveryMom Chicago? Do you currently have ways to volunteer in person? 
 
Thank you for asking! Readers can donate new baby and postpartum supplies or like-new items (including carseats, strollers, diaper bags, and changing pads), host a donation drive, or purchase items off our Amazon wishlist. There are many ways to volunteer including delivering kits to our partner hospitals/nonprofits, researching free resources for the guide, and building kits or organizing donations in Hyde Park.
 
 
 
What is something everyone would be surprised to know about you? 
 
I’m a certified safari guide. Send me an email if you want to know how long ago that elephant pooped.
 
Rapid Fire Round! 
 
Favorite place to travel (without kids): This hasn’t really happened for us yet. Pre-kids? New Orleans, Los Angeles, France, anywhere.
 
Favorite place to travel (with kids): Italy – everyone was so helpful!
 
Undergrad college/major: Hospitality Management & Sustainable Tourism
 
Coffee or Tea: Coffee first, then Tea. But both really.
 
Last book you read: Somebody’s Daughter by Ashley C Ford
 
Best way to start the morning: Snuggle with the kids and dogs, followed by coffee, and a nice dog walk.
 
Guilty pleasure: Anything with sugar. Anything.
 

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