By Heather Johnson
The Baby Bank began in May 2020, shortly after COVID shut down much of our community. As the pandemic lingered, Caring Network,* a local pro-life non-profit, asked partner churches if we could help their clients with the physical needs of caring for their babies.
Resurrection responded with a resounding yes! We set up tables in the warehouse, loaded them with diapers and wipes, and began by going out to cars in our parking lot, all masked up, and giving families the supplies they needed.
We have grown into a little shop from which we supply diapers, wipes, baby shampoo and lotion, diaper rash cream, and formula. We also have maternity clothes, baby clothes, toys and books, blankets, and more. We are open from 5 to 7pm every other Thursday evening, and we currently serve 35-50 families.
Mostly moms come but we also have some dads, grandparents, and frequently babies and children join them. Some families are intact, but most are not. Father Matt has counted 15 countries of origin, including the U.S., India, Sudan, Afghanistan, and Venezuela, represented at our little Baby Bank! All these nationalities also represent a range of faith traditions and practices. Many families have just arrived in the U.S., some speak very little English, and many do not have any extended family or friends. It is a very diverse group and the needs are many.
But across ethnic lines one of the most heart wrenching and repeated scenarios is this: A newly pregnant woman arrives at the Baby Bank for the first time either with the baby’s father, or he is actively involved in her life. The baby is born, all seems well, but later this new mother returns to us more fragile than before. She tells me that the baby’s father has left them.
Pro-life advocates relate that a leading factor in a woman’s decision to keep or abort her preborn child is whether she has a supportive partner. When what may be her only support is gone, she struggles anew and still needs to care for her infant, and sometimes older children as well. We give away crucial supplies, but I believe that seeing these women, weeping with them, praying with them, and rejoicing with them as they become sturdier and grow in love with their child, is just what our church family does.
As openings arise, we can tell them about the love of Jesus, invite them to church. We do what we can to leave communication lines open so they can call us with questions, needs, or they just have someone to listen. At the end of each Thursday night, we gather and pray for each person by name. We take care of people, not just because we’ve been asked to, but because it is our joy.
Caring for these women and families stirs some familiar themes in my own life. I deeply resonate with some of their pain and fear. When my life darkened, Jesus and his Church wrapped me up and held me tightly. I have learned so much about myself, our loving Father, and how to care for others by being cared for. It is God’s gift to me to share what I’ve learned with Baby Bank families. I love them so much.
We need your prayers for this work. We want to share the love of Jesus and his Church with these families. We also need supplies. We go through mountains of diapers! We have an Amazon wishlist so you can ship supplies to the church, drop off donations in the east vestibule, or monetary donations always work too.
You can learn more on our website here.
*Caring Network is an Illinois based organization whose mission statement is, “To honor and glorify Jesus Christ, the author and creator of life, by bringing His love and compassion to abortion minded women and equipping them to choose life-both physical and spiritual.”
Heather Johnson is a longtime member of Resurrection and serves as volunteer coordinator of the Baby Bank.