When Jaime Piening was a young mom, she remembers sitting at home nursing a baby, listening to one child throwing a tantrum and the other asking for help in the bathroom.
“I was feeling overwhelmed...I was supposed to be [a full-time at-home mom] but at the same time I wanted to contribute in a different way,” Jaime says.
That’s how Moms on a Mission was born. Jaime now leads hundreds of families around Liberty Township and beyond in volunteering outside the home right alongside their kids.
The first mission started by grabbing a friend, now co-founder Emily Parks, and visiting a Lebanon nursing home.
“I created a Facebook page (@moms410), came up with a name, and it was a way to keep myself accountable. There were other moms out there feeling the way I was,” Jaime says.
Some parents are hesitant to involve their young children in volunteering, but Jaime reassures them.
“I tell new moms my kid is shy and it’s okay. You just keep coming back and you’ll see the progress.”
Moms on a Mission is fulfilling a need Jaime didn’t see being met anywhere else in the community.
“Let’s just be real, moms are not going to get a babysitter to go volunteer,” Jaime says. “Most of what we need to do, our kids are there with us, so I wanted to provide an opportunity to take out the grunt work [of finding kid-friendly volunteer opportunities]. I wanted to make it an easy ‘yes’ for moms to serve with their kids.”
Most of the group consists of preschool and school-aged children, pregnant moms looking to get connected before their baby is even born and mothers of teens, as well as grandparents. Parents who are busiest are often the ones who volunteer the most.
Since their first nursing home trip in the summer of 2017, the group is nearing its 75th volunteer mission. They made $21,000 this year at an annual fundraiser (led by Finance Director Kate Hines-Guggenbiller) which was donated to Warm Welcomes Foster Care Outreach. In addition to the sense of community the group provides to moms, it is educational to kids as well. Jaime seeks to broaden kids’ perspectives through volunteering.
“I wanted to give them a world perspective. Not everyone has what we have. I wanted to create an awareness with them,” she says.
Jaime jokes that parents often say, “Eat your food, there are starving children,” but it means nothing to kids.
“They learn by experience. This gives them a chance to see what it’s like,” she says.
One of the organizations Moms on a Mission works with is Hands against Hunger in Sharonville, where they ship meals and water filtration packets to third-world countries. Volunteers get to see how the cool water packets work and sample the food.
“Kids have the opportunity to see it, understand what happens when you drink it and taste the food they are packaging. They have a tangible experience of what it means to walk in someone else’s shoes,” Jaime says.
The group also delivers food to needy families in Hamilton, who are virtually homeless and living in cheap motels. Jaime used this opportunity to teach her daughter about how some people live, as there are whole families in one room, and kids walking out without shoes to receive food.
Jaime’s daughter, Elle (age 9), says she’s learned a lot about how other people live, the problems they have and what can be done to help.
“I feel very proud because [my mom] is the leader of it and I like volunteering with my mom because it makes me feel more comfortable trying new things,” Elle says.
She looks forward to working at an animal shelter in the near future.
In addition to helping with the COVID-19 outbreak, Jaime is now assisting others looking to start charters in other towns, and feels rewarded when she sees how the mission is spreading.
To learn more and join, visit Facebook.com/Moms410.