Infant Crisis Services
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
It was the little Sunday school project that grew. In 1984, Miki Farris was tired of pulling weeds as a service project year after year. So she proposed an initiative born of her passion to help struggling families, a passion developed by her "not so fairy tale-ish" childhood. After her parents divorced when she was 2, Miki witnessed her mom’s angst while stretching dollars. Her grandparents helped immensely or it could have been much worse. When her own babies were born, she imagined how awful it would be to struggle for their basic necessities.
The first year, the project helped 500 babies. By 2012, more than 2,000 volunteers were working in a 17,000-square-foot facility to supply 14,000 babies and toddlers with formula, diapers, and other supplies. Plans include adding satellite operations and mobile units. An early client was Laverne, whose baby daughter Regina had Down’s and medical issues that caused her to lose her hands and feet. Regina died at age 18; Laverne has become an ardent supporter of the organization. Today its $2.9 million budget is—remarkably—totally privately funded.
Miki’s mentor is Pat Potts, who is highly regarded in Oklahoma for her decades of work in directing the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits. "She helped to answer questions all along the way," Miki says. The one person Miki would have loved to meet is Mother Teresa, because "she knew how to pour herself out completely for the less fortunate."
Says Miki, who is always adding innovations to the agency’s services, "It is our passion and privilege to serve the last, least, and littlest in our communities."
All stories written by Rebecca Christian
All photographs by George Lange