Growing up, Miki Farris saw first-hand the struggles of single parents in need.
“I watched my mom stretch, and I watched my mom struggle, and it was heartbreaking,” Farris says.
With that experience in her mind, Farris went on to found Infant Crisis Services, a multi-million dollar nonprofit organization dedicated to providing emergency services for babies in need.
The organization serves children through referrals and will give babies a week’s worth of formula or toddler food, seasonal clothing, a bottle, diapers and more, but only five times throughout the baby’s life.
“We’re not trying to be a long term fix,” Farris says. “We’re a safety net, a place to turn when there is nowhere else.”
Infant Crisis Services started from a desire to do a service project that directly impacted the needy.
“It started as a Sunday school project at Westminster Presbyterian Church here in Oklahoma City,” Farris says. “We young parents were tired of picking weeds and painting doors.”
Farris had heard of Tulsa-based Emergency Infant Services and invited some of the leaders from that organization to Oklahoma City to discuss how to start a similar project. With the newfound knowledge from their Tulsa counterparts, the Sunday school class took over part of an old church building that served as a hub of several local nonprofits at the time. Farris and her Sunday school class began to provide formula, clothing and other needs for parents and babies in crisis.
From that grassroots effort, Infant Crisis Services has grown to two branches and a 17,000-square-foot headquarters building in Oklahoma City. It receives no state or federal funding and is entirely funded by private donations.
The organization has even recently started operating a mobile unit that travels to clinics, alternative schools for teens, WIC offices, etc., to provide services directly to those in need without a referral.
After running such a stalwart organization for 29 years, others across the country have begun to take note. Out of hundreds of submissions, Farris was recently named one of five 2013 Classic Women by Traditional Home magazine for her efforts.
“It’s really an honor that’s beyond belief,” Farris says. “And it gives us and our mission some national attention.”
With almost three decades of work under her belt, Farris is overjoyed with not only the recognition the organization that she helped to build receives, but also with the opportunity to make a difference every day.
“I absolutely, positively love everything about this place,” Farris says. “Helping babies is the reason I want to come here every day, and there is nothing I don’t like about it.”