How Tender is Helping Atlanta Moms Who Need It Most
New motherhood can make any mom feel like she’s in survival mode…and for many single mothers, serious financial strain only make it feel more impossible to keep afloat.
The Tender Foundation is working to bridge the financial gap and provide a safety net for single moms living in Atlanta through rent and grocery assistance, a diaper bank, and more.
The organization was founded by Jaycina Almond, a fellow Atlanta mom and model. When Jaycina got pregnant at age 20, it occurred to her that the only difference between her journey and single mothers like her own mom was that right before her first trimester ended, her daughter’s dad became a successful rapper.
“Before that, I was calling and begging my mom to beg her dad for $300 so I could pay my rent,” she remembers. “Raised by a single mom, the only difference is that we happened to get lucky, and my daughter and I have access to these resources.”
From this experience, she felt called to help new moms. Her original idea was to do a subscription box tailored to each trimester. The premise was that for every box sold, they’d donate a box of diapers and wipes to a family in need.
“As we got that ready to launch, I was only focusing on the logistics of our give-back aspect. I realized that that was all I cared about. I decided to just cut my losses and focus on what I cared about. If I don’t do what I’m passionate about, it’s not going to be successful,” Jaycina says.
As she leaned into this new mission, she learned more about the community she was serving…like that Atlanta has one the highest eviction rates—especially in Black communities—and that 25% of children in metro Atlanta live in poverty. And a child born poor in Atlanta is less likely to outgrow poverty than kids in other cities—a cycle of generational poverty that only becomes more pronounced among single-mother households in Atlanta.
To help break this devastating cycle of poverty, Jaycina established Tender to provide gap assistance and establish a safety net for the families she served.
“All families need access to money. If we can help a mom stay in her home and pay her rent, she can pay for childcare, then maybe she can go to work. She has a chance to catch her breath and find her footing again,” Jaycina says. “It has a domino effect. Even down to diapers, if a family doesn’t have to spend on diapers that month, that’s food on their table. The assistance we provide has a greater impact than most people realize.”
In Tender’s first year alone, they managed to keep 78 families in their homes, provide 183 families with diapers and wipes, pay 41 utility bills to keep the lights on, and gave grocery store gift cards to 38 moms.
Jaycina sees the positive impact of Tender’s work every day.
“Early on we had a mom who got approved to get into a new place. Things were on the up and up, but you need security deposit and first month’s rent. She had no way to come up with the deposit and first month’s rent on top of her other bills,” Jaycina recalls. “We were able to give her rent assistance, and then she was stable. She knew her son was safe; she could go to work; and there wasn’t a big cloud hanging over her. By going to work she was able to afford rent.”
More recently, Jaycina worked with a mom named Jasmine who had just exhausted the three-month limit at the shelter that was housing her and was now living in an abandoned building. Jaycina learned about all of this when Jasmine came to pick up diapers.
Within days, Tender was able to get her into an Airbnb for a two-week stay and then connected her with semi-permanent housing and affordable daycare. Since then, Jasmine’s had a safe place to live, has started work, and her little one is in daycare.
“That happened literally over a weekend,” Jaycina says. “Even though we don’t have a housing placement program, we have a community that can support our moms. It’s a story that sticks with me because it shows the power what we can do together.”
In the future, Jaycina hopes that in addition to providing gap assistance, Tender can provide longer-term help, too. She has plans to pilot a program that explores the impact of five months of cash grants.
If you’d like to support Tender’s great work, the best way is to make a financial donation.
“Monetary donations sustain our work,” Jaycina explains. “We have touch points with moms where we get feedback, and that feedback informs decisions we need to improve. The only thing we hear is they need more money.”
And for those local to Atlanta, Tender has volunteer opportunities at their diaper banks and they take donations of diapers and wipes (you could also send these via Amazon).
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