By Clara Cooper, Executive Director
September 23, 2020
Clara Cooper has made her life’s mission to serve the Houston community through nonprofit, community organizations, especially those that serve postpartum women who have recently given birth. With a background in nonprofits, including several hunger-relief organizations, she serves as the Executive Director for L.I.F.E. Houston.
Founding and Mission of L.I.F.E. Houston
Originally founded in 1988 as a ministry of the Church of St. John the Divine to provide emergency formula for babies in need, the organization was granted nonprofit status in 1990. Since then, L.I.F.E. Houston has been filling bottles and feeding babies in the Greater Houston area. L.I.F.E. Houston is the only agency that provides emergency food for babies. Good nutrition during a baby’s first year gives baby a strong start for a strong future.
During the postpartum time, new moms may feel helpless as they may not have an adequate supply of breastmilk or they may not have prepared their budget to account for the need of baby formula. This is where L.I.F.E. Houston comes in.
Each day, L.I.F.E. Houston sees women, grandmothers, fathers and foster families come through their doors. While the commitment of L.I.F.E. Houston is to feed babies, the staff at L.I.F.E. Houston knows they have to serve and focus on the mom as well as many of their clients do not have the physical and emotional family support system.
Mom, How are you doing?
Clara says, “As a society, the first thing we ask moms is ‘let’s see the baby.’ We forget about asking her how she is doing. The staff does a good job asking mom, ‘how are you doing mom, are you eating, are you sleeping.’ We should also focus our attention to asking mom about her well-being.”
If you are in need of baby formula, please contact L.I.F.E. Houston. During the current pandemic, they are currently doing intake of new clients via phone and providing curbside delivery to the car. Additionally, you must have an appointment.
L.I.F.E. Houston carries all formula types: from standard milk-based and soy infant formulas to formulas for medical needs, like Elecare, Alimentum, or Neosure. If there is a need for a medically-necessary formula, L.I.F.E. Houston asks for a prescription from your physician.
With several locations throughout the city, L.I.F.E. Houston stands ready to serve Houstonians. Be sure to call ahead prior to going to the center, as office hours may vary. A list of open locations and hours is available at www.lifehouston.org/locations
- East End, 2002 South Wayside; Houston, TX 77023; Phone 713.528.6044
- Northwest Assistance Ministries, 15555 Kuykendahl; Houston, TX 77090; Phone 713.528.6044
- Southwest Multi-Service Center, 6400 High Star; Houston, TX 77074; Phone: 713.528.6044
- West End Multi-Service Center, 170 Heights Boulevard, Building 1; Houston, TX 77007; Phone 713.528.6044
Dignity and Respect
Clara holds steadfast to a personal and professional commitment to improving maternal health in Harris County: “First, as a mom, it’s important. In Houston we help strengthen each other. It takes a whole village to be involved, and we have to do our part. We come from all backgrounds and all walks of life.
“When I think about how we can help the people who are without live a little more comfortably? I know nonprofit organizations are the safety nets and that is what L.I.F.E. Houston is. We have to make sure our neighbors and all people are taken care of. If you help one person, treat that person with dignity and respect, you’ve made a difference.”
Clara got her start at Big Brothers Big Sisters as a caseworker, where she matched kids to adult volunteers. Her professional tenure has spanned from the United Way of Greater Houston to Target Hunger to the Souper Bowl of Caring. She has served on the board of directors for the Coalition for the Homeless and Houston Food Bank.
For more information about accessing L.I.F.E. Houston’s baby formula or to donate goods, please visit their website at www.lifehouston.org.