Big heart for Little Hands

September 21, 2022

Nonprofits

By Whitney Cavin Asher, '12

For Ashley Gibb Raggi, ’07, becoming a mom gave her a deep-seated empathy for other moms.

That’s why in 2020, when she discovered a young nonprofit called Little Hands Virginia that delivers baby essentials directly to families in need, she wanted to be a part of it. Raggi soon became its director of operations, coordinating approximately 100 volunteers to serve more than 150 low- to-no-income families each month.

“I feel like this job was made just for me,” she said. “I love it so much. It’s such a tangible way to help people.”

LHV began in 2019 when its founder was on parental leave but found nowhere to donate items her baby no longer needed. The nonprofit has delivered necessities to over 1,500 children that help them to be safe, clean, and healthy.

I feel like this job was made just for me.

“One of our main beliefs is ‘Quality is dignity,’” Raggi said. “Everything’s been thoroughly cleaned and inspected. Clothes have been washed. Our approach respects the dignity of families.”

To identify families in need, LHV partners with more than 60 organizations including the Virginia Department of Health and homeless shelters. With the help of donors, they stocked a formula pantry during the recent formula crisis and replenish diapers to local hospitals and nonprofits on an ongoing basis. Other donations include strollers, clothes, and a variety of baby supplies.

Many of the families that LHV helps speak languages other than English. Raggi, who double-majored in Spanish and rhetoric and communication studies, often communicates in Spanish. Her academic background has also provided perspective on some of the issues LHV families may be facing.

“My classes in rhetoric and communication encouraged me to think critically about the larger systems at play and how people are disproportionately impacted,” she said. “The deeper understanding I gained in my time at UR drives me in my work every day.”