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Dresser ministry

Fill the drawers with items a pregnant woman without means might need

In Nancy Kujawa’s opinion, a pregnant woman without means shouldn’t have to go without. That’s why her organization, Pregnancy Services of Greater Lansing (PSGL), spearheads a special program with area churches that reaches out to expectant mothers in need.

“We call it a ‘dresser ministry,’” she explains. “The idea behind it is to find a new dresser – or fix up an old one – and fill it with items that a new baby needs.” Clothing tops the list (see box for suggestions), but you can also fill the drawers with things like blankets, diapers, pacifiers and the like.

“We’ve worked with several Catholic churches in the Lansing area,” she notes, “including St. Martha’s (Okemos), St. Thomas Aquinas (East Lansing) and St. Mary’s (Williamston). And each one works the program differently. One church might list the required items on individual pieces of paper for people to pick up, much like a Christmas giving tree is run. Another might bring a dresser into church, and encourage people to fill the drawers as they are able.

“Some parishes also include high-ticket items that have been gently used – like car seats, strollers and cribs. We can always pass these on.”

After a successful dresser campaign is finished, the full dresser and related items are then brought to PSGL’s offices at 1045 E. Grand River in East Lansing, where the staff makes sure they are distributed to young mothers-to-be who really need them.

If you know of an expectant mom who could benefit from this program, have them call PSGL at (517) 332-0633 or visit their Web site at www.pregnancylansing.com.

If the mother-to-be is outside the service area of this organization, Kujawa suggests you develop a dresser ministry of your own, or encourage your parish to start one.

First, you need to get a dresser. New is good, but a used one will work well, too. If you opt for used, make sure the drawers open and close smoothly and that the pulls and feet are firmly attached. If there’s any damage to the surface of the dresser, think about refinishing it or applying a coat of paint. If you don’t know the gender of the baby, neutral colors like white, green, peach, purple and yellow are best.

Want to get a little more creative? You can also experiment with decorative painting techniques like sponging, or try stenciling on a design. Check your local craft store for baby-oriented motifs.

Top off the decorated dresser with a small lamp and a basketful of plush toys or a starter library of read-aloud books. A children’s picture Bible would make another nice touch.

 

Inspiration from Blessed Mother Teresa: Defender of the Unborn

Mother Teresa (1910-1997) was a staunch defender of the rights of the unborn, who opened her heart and her homes to the unwanted children of Calcutta. In her efforts to inspire compassion for the littlest among us, she spoke these words:

Love is a fruit in season at all times, and in reach of every hand.

Intense loves does not measure; it just gives.

If you judge people, you have no time to love them.

We cannot all do great things, but we can do small things with great love.

Every act of love is a work of peace, no matter how small.

Good works are links that form a chain of love.

We have been created to love and be loved.

Fill the drawers with love

Fill a dresser for an expectant mother in need with these recommended items:

Onesies

Sleepers

Blanket sleepers

Receiving blankets

Crib blankets and sheets

Outfits for newborns, 3-6 months

Socks and shoes

Pacifiers

Baby wipes, baby shampoo, baby powder

Diapers

Diaper bag

Baby food and cereal

Formula

Plastic baby bottles

Parenting books and videos

Bibles

 

In addition to the dresser, you might also want to solicit gently used high-ticket items, such as:

Car seats

Cribs

Playpens

Bassinets

High chairs

Walkers

Strollers