On April 17th, 2020, we lost a cherished member of the Cribs for Kids family to COVID-19. Tragically, Barb’s mother passed away due to COVID-19 one week before she did. The unimaginable loss of these two strong women has been difficult to navigate. We continue to mind our mission and move forward because we know that Barb would have wanted us to carry on.
Barbara Clemons began her career with Cribs for Kids in 2006. She was instrumental in building the organization from a local non-profit to a network of over 1,700 partners nationwide. As Director of Product Development, Barb dedicated her last 14 years to the strong and steady growth of Cribs for Kids. With her impeccable eye for detail and practical nature, Barb implemented processes and procedures that kept our operations end running like a well-oiled machine. She has been described by her co-workers as dedicated, creative, and ever positive.
Barb was responsible for laying out the blueprint for the growth of the organization. She encouraged us to take “baby steps” and to always mind our mission. During that first year, we provided 4,100 cribs to babies nationwide and we thought that was an amazing accomplishment. Cribs for Kids has now distributed over 750,000 safe sleeping environments to families in need throughout the country. Thanks to Barb’s advice, we have never allowed our mission to suffer while expanding into the strong organization we are today.
Barb was instrumental in not only the design of our infant safe sleep products but also worked with Asian markets to oversee the production and domestic importing of those products. Her main responsibility, fulfilling orders to Cribs for Kids’ partners throughout the country, was what she loved to do. She wasn’t satisfied until she was sure she had secured the best available shipping rate and that the shipments left her warehouse in pristine condition.
In the weeks leading up to her hospitalization, as the nation began to enter quarantine and unemployment rates began to skyrocket, Barb began to sound the alarm as it pertained to infant mortality rates. She knew that as more families fell into dire straits due to the pandemic, their ability to afford a safe sleep environment for their infants would be compromised. We created the Cribs for Kids At Home Program, an initiative to provide online safe sleep education and ship cribs directly to family’s homes, to address the new normal we are all experiencing.
Barb lived in New Castle, PA., and traveled to Pittsburgh to work at our headquarters. She was so proud of the work we did through our network of partners nationwide and was especially proud to serve our local families. We have established the Barbara Jean Clemons Memorial Fund to provide our signature Cribette, designed by Barb, to families in need across Western Pennsylvania through our Cribs for Kids At Home Program.
Please consider donating to provide a Cribette to a family in Barb’s name. For every $50.00 raised, a family in need will receive a Cribette and access to online safe sleep education. With this fund, Barb will continue to fulfill her mission of helping every baby sleep safer.
Barb will be deeply missed by all of the Cribs for Kids partners who worked closely with her over the years. Her focus on great customer service was central to the success of Cribs for Kids saving thousands of babies’ lives. The staff of Cribs for Kids is heartbroken. Barb was much more than a co-worker or manager to us, she was a friend and a mentor. We can’t imagine Cribs for Kids ever being the same without her brilliance, enthusiasm, and creativity. She was a dear friend to all of us and we will miss her each and every day. Our full hearts and prayers are with Barb’s family members as they endure this unimaginable loss.