Amy Vann knows what it’s like to not have nice things. Growing up in the Ohio River towns of Gallipolis, Ohio and Point Pleasant, West Virginia, she felt the teasing and mocking by school kids who had the new shoes and brand name clothes that her parents could not afford to buy for her and her sister. Now a mother herself, Vann founded and operates Give Like a Mother, a non-profit company that collects and distributes clothing and other items for free to underprivileged families.
Vann, an adjunct visiting faculty from the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Nursing who teaches students in a clinical setting at UC Medical Center and UC Health West Chester Hospital, got her certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) degree at the UC College of Nursing in December of 2009. After graduation, with a little more time on her hands, she started searching for a service project.
“I’ve always had a strong heart for children, and I always loved serving,” says Vann. “We have a very service-minded family, and we always love to give back and help others.”
Vann began by looking for people to give baby clothing or equipment that she no longer had use for, since, after having a boy and a girl, she was done having babies. Using Facebook yard sale sites, she would meet people to sell them items from her family, and saw then how great the need was in the community.
“That’s when I started looking for people who needed items and I would ask other moms that I knew or people in the community if they had anything to spare,” Vann said. “It was during what they call a ‘journey’ at Crossroads Church where they challenged you to be brave in whatever God had planned for you that I started thinking about it and thought, ‘this is what I’m supposed to do.’”
When Vann started asking for donations, she got a very strong response, with a lot of people saying they just wanted their items to find a home. At first, she collected items at her home in Batavia, but the amount of donated items grew to the point where she needed larger and larger storage facilities.