Tutti Bambini: For all children, all year long

Four years ago, Tutti Bambini, a local children’s clothing store, opened its doors with one simple goal in mind: to help children in need. 

Through the profits made by selling used and new clothing, toys, books and children’s furniture, plus proceeds from an annual golf tournament, the store has managed to accomplish that goal, all while becoming a favorite place for parents of young children to shop.

Founder Sister Beth Daddio might have been the one with the initial vision for a store that would provide assistance to families in need, but she attributes much of the success to the team of volunteers that take care of the day to day business. That includes anything from assisting customers in the storefront to washing, steaming and hanging the clothes so they look their best.

“Volunteers are the heart and soul of Tutti Bambini,” says Sister Beth, a Catholic nun. “We couldn’t possibly do what we do if it wasn’t for our volunteers.” 

Sister Beth sums up the fruit of their labor with one of her favorite quotes by Betty Reese: “If you think you are too small to be effective, you have never been in bed with a mosquito.”

The store has 23 volunteers who work in two shifts each day. Presently, one of those volunteers learned of Tutti Bambini from a friend who is also a volunteer.

“My friend kept telling me, ‘You need to come and help us.’ And so finally, one day I took her up on it. The rest is history,” she said.

“I think it’s rewarding to know we’re doing something to help children in this community. I also have a lot of fun helping customers. People come in and they’re amazed by our store. Our customers want to come and volunteer. It’s a magical place.” 

“What’s always impressed me is that we really have a dual purpose: we not only help children’s causes in the community, but it’s a way for moms and dads to get quality clothing for their children.”

Customer Jennifer Travis describes Tutti Bambini as the best children’s store in the Las Cruces area.

“The store is always clean, beautifully decorated, and the clothes are always in great shape,” she says. “The ladies that work here are so very friendly. It’s always a pleasant experience shopping here.” 

Organizations that have benefited from Tutti Bambini’s generosity include the children’s program at the domestic violence shelter La Casa, Inc., Azlyn’s Stable for children who have been abused, Big Brothers Big Sisters and several programs for children at area churches. The store even has ties to a small school in Palomas, Mexico that provides a physical therapist for children with cerebral palsy. 

Most recently, proceeds helped provide desks, lamps and chairs to children whose parents have received a home through Habitat for Humanity. The intent was to provide a small study area for each child. 

Retired school teacher Linda Ott is one of seven women who serve on Tutti Bambini’s Board of Directors. 

“We went out and met with the kids, interviewed them and asked their favorite colors, so we could then buy at least a lamp in their favorite color,” she says. “That was a neat job. They were so excited when we delivered the items.” 

While volunteers work at the store, the Board, nicknamed the Sisters of Perpetual Fundraising, is responsible for organizing events, such as the annual Hats Off for Kids Golf Tournament and “Opening Doors,” featuring amazing artists. Last year, Tutti Bambini donated a total of $19,200 to charity. 

Though she shies away from taking any credit for the success of Tutti Bambini, Sister Beth is delighted to sing the praises of her hardworking volunteers, and she lights up with excitement talking about the children whose lives are affected by the store’s goodwill.

“The goal was to help at-risk and special needs children,” she explains. “The idea is to give money to programs that sort of fall through the cracks and aren’t eligible for grants, federal or state dollars.”

Asked why she’s passionate about helping children, Sister Beth’s response is simple. 

“How can you not be passionate about children?” she replies. “They’re our future. It takes a village, and we want to be a part of that. We want to be a part of helping children have a good start, to have nice things, and to get all the support possible that we can give them.” 

There are several ways to lend your support to Tutti Bambini’s efforts in the community, including shopping at the store, donating items to sell, volunteering your time, and participating in the annual golf tournament and other fundraisers. 

Fall 2016

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