Cover star Molly Sims makes giving back a priority in her life. Here are five worthy mom and baby causes she supports—and how you can get involved, too.
When it comes to teaching her toddler, Brooks, to give back, Fit Pregnancy cover star Molly Sims and her husband Scott are starting early. "When he gets a toy, he has to give one away," she says. As he gets older, Sims says she will help him set up a lemonade stand so he can donate the proceeds to charity, and she looks forward to accompanying him to homeless shelters to serve hot meals on holidays.
Giving back like this is more crucial to Sims than ever. "It's even more important as a mom," she says. "I'm so empathetic now that I have my own baby. I understand that things can go right and things can go really wrong with having children." Here are five of her favorite causes helping kids—and easy ways you can get involved, too.
Operation Smile (operationsmile.org)
- Mission: An international charity offering medical treatment to children in developing countries with facial deformities, like cleft lip.
- Molly's take: Sims is such a strong supporter of Operation Smile that she traveled to Peru to see the work of the organization first-hand—witnessing surgeries and noticing the difference they made. "It's amazing what they do; in seven minutes they can change someone's life," she says. "We take a cleft palate for granted in the U.S. because no one really has it here, but in other countries, it is not that way."
- Get involved: Spread the smiles by fundraising, raising interest in your community or taking a volunteering trip to the countries that need help.
Operation Shower (operationshower.org)
- Mission: A nonprofit that provides baby showers for U.S. military families to help ease the worry of deployment.
- Molly's take: Sims just helped Operation Shower host a baby shower for 40 women at the Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif., sponsored by Munchkin Baby Products and designed by Carousel Designs. "I love our veterans and it's a way of giving back," she explains. "Having a baby, you want to have that special day to be showered. It's a way for these women to be loved and not be stressed."
- Get involved: A $25 donation will buy a diaper bag to cheer up a mom-to-be, or choose a gift for a recipient's shower from the charity's Babies"R"Us baby registry.
- Mission: An L.A.-based charity that donates strollers, cribs, bottles and other baby goods to the local families that need them most.
- Molly's take: Sims got involved with the organization after she had Brooks and realized it really did take a village to raise a child. "I've been a supporter ever since because I've seen what it does for these women. We have become their village," she says. "It's expensive to have a child. Some families have so few resources—they have to reuse diapers." As part of her support, Sims has helped raise millions for the cause, and drops off monthly donations. "Every time I give gifts, every time I have Christmas or birthdays, half goes to Baby2Baby. Anything anybody doesn't want we'll take it. I love being a part of it."
- Get involved: Live in L.A.? Host a collection drive at your home, school, or office or organize a baby shower. Find out more at one of the charity's Give Back Wednesdays, a weekly volunteer session to help sort through donated items and pack gift bags for the children.
March of Dimes (marchofdimes.org)
- Mission: A U.S. nonprofit, founded by Franklin D. Roosevelt, funding life-saving research to end premature birth, birth defects and infant mortality.
- Molly's take: Sims is generous in her donations to this worthy cause. "We pray that we never have visit the NICU [Neonatal Intensive Care Unit] ourselves; it's a great charity," she says.
- Get involved: Join a local March for Babies to raise money for research and support families in your community. Visit marchforbabies.org to find the next march. Running more your thing? Get fit and fund research at a local Run for Babies 5K event.
Friends of El Faro (friendsofelfaro.com)
- Mission: A california-based charity that helps clothe, feed and take care of over 100 children at the Casa Hogar Sion orphanage in Tijuana, Mexico.
- Molly's take: Ever since November 2000, Adam Smith and his wife Leigh Kilton-Smith (a celebrated Hollywood acting coach) have been traveling to the orphanage with a circle of 20 friends, including Sims, to spend the weekend with the orphans. "We are the charity," Sims says. And her work with the group has taught her the true benefits of giving back. "You think you're helping someone else but you're also helping yourself."
- Get involved: Hold a fundraiser (Friends of El Faro recommend treasure hunts or wine tastings) or sponsor a child for $24 a month.
See more from Molly: From Supermodel to Supermom