Neighbors pool their resources to help a single mom with quintuplets
When the children’s hospital called Aileen’s pediatric occupational therapy clinic in July of 2020, the clinic was closed due to pandemic lockdowns. The hospital informed her that a set of quintuplet baby brothers had been born in November of 2019 and would be in need of her services once they were released. Would she be able to help?
Aileen often gets direct referrals from the hospital for families with special conditions, and premature quintuplets who spent their first year of life receiving oxygen and feeding through tubes certainly fit that bill. She decided to open her clinic specifically for the babies and their mother, Jackie. As the babies were released, they came to Aileen for ongoing occupational therapy, and by November 2020, all five boys were being cared for at the clinic.
The quintuplets stayed in the NICU for nearly a year after they were born.Courtesy of Nextdoor
Jackie is a single mom who moved to the U.S. from Ghana a couple of years ago. She lives with her mom and aunt in the Atlanta area and also has another son, Daniel, who was 3 years old when the boys came home from the hospital. With a preschooler and five babies needing medical care, Jackie definitely needed more help than her family and church could provide, but she was too shy to ask for it. Eventually, she confided in Aileen that she could use help with diapers. Even with one baby, diapers are expensive; keeping up with five at once would be overwhelming.
Aileen contacted local aid organizations who normally have diapers to offer, but they were all in short supply due to the pandemic. So she decided to reach out to her neighbors instead.
In January, Aileen posted on the Nextdoor app asking locals for recommendations for diaper resources. Though she didn’t ask for donations, 15 people sent her messages offering to donate diapers. Neighbors also recommended that Aileen start a GoFundMe and an Amazon baby registry for Jackie so people could assist her and the boys with more than just diapers.
Aileen did just that. And when she shared the links on Nextdoor, her neighbors showed up in a big way, sending messages of support (which Aileen would share with Jackie), donating money and buying items through the registry. Many families with multiples asked how they could help out.
The quintuplets on their first birthday.
One woman saw the post and shared the family’s needs with four of her friends. They each assigned themselves to one of the boys to help out and ended up collecting two entire truckloads of items—40 boxes of diapers, clothing, chairs, and more for the family. The woman has kept in touch with Jackie and hopes her group of friends can stay connected with the boys as they grow up.
In all, people donated $6,000 to the GoFundMe on top of countless donations of items.
The quintuplets will be 2 in November and are doing very well. In August, Aileen shared an update on the boys with her Nextdoor neighbors.
“Back in January, I posted about the quintuplet boys in Lawrenceville and was just amazed to witness the kindness this community has shown to this family. Mommy Jackie shared with me these pics to keep you posted on their progress. I hope it will make your day and remind you how we are blessed to have so many wonderful neighbors.
Jayden, Jayson, Jordan, Jeffery, and Jared are now 1 year and 9 months old. The boys are thriving! All boys are receiving OT, PT, and speech therapy at our clinic. 3 of the 5 are now walking (running, actually) 2 are crawling and starting to cruise. All the boys are eating although 3 are still on tube feeds. They are also getting stronger and almost all are weaned from oxygen. They have their own personalities and making huge gains in therapy. We’re hoping and praying that they will all be walking, eating, and breathing on their own before their 2nd birthday!”
Aileen says that Nextdoor became “an avenue for blessings” and that she sees it as her connection to people.
“I still get goosebumps of how that one post sparked all of this,” she says. “I became a witness to just how good people are. We only hear negative news, but there are so many positive things happening.”
In honor of Neighbor Month, Nextdoor is celebrating the people and places nearby that make our neighborhoods wonderful. Share a story about why you #LoveYourNeighborhood on your @Nextdoor newsfeed for a chance to be featured for Neighbor Month.
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