Pay It Forward: Moms Helping Moms

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The cost of starting a family can add up quickly.

A group of area moms wanted to help make sure that babies didn't have to go without  basic needs. The women started the Moms Helping Moms Pantry, using some of the items they no longer needed.

The pantry, in Princeton, Illinois, has grown and offers basic items for moms and babies for free.

"What we have is in season, stain free, tear free.  So it was something we would want to put on our kids," says volunteer Sara Edlefson.

"Some are embarrassed to come in. Your down on times, don't want to admit it.  We don't ask for any identification, no cost it's just truly a pay it forward," says Edlefson.

She says one mom is the backbone of the organization. That's why she nominated her friend Elizabeth Arkels for the $300 Ascentra Credit Union “Pay It Forward” award.

"She spends countless hours here.  She's done a wonderful job and I don't know how many people she has helped in the area,"  says Edlefson.

Surprised to be honored, Arkels explains her vision for the outreach program, saying, "We wanted it to be nice, presentable and just a happy setting to come in and not be ashamed that you needed something."

Arkels says those in need are more than grateful for the help.

"The only thing that we ask is that they just pay it back - pay it forward - to us or somebody else in need.  I would say 95 percent of the time, everyone that we helped has come back and donated back to us," Arkels said.

That way, these moms can pass on the items again and again.

The Moms Helping Moms Pantry is open Tuesdays from 8:30 to 11 a.m. and Saturdays from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.

The group is always accepting donations to pass along to others.

If you know someone who helps their community, why not nominate them in the Ascentra Credit Union/News 8 “Pay It Forward” program.  You can use the nominating form by clicking here.