Along with the immense joy that comes with welcoming a new baby into one’s family, it is also a time of adjustment and exhaustion that can be very overwhelming. In an effort to support these families in the community, the Women’s Guild began delivering meals to them. From there, the New Baby Welcome Ministry took on a life of its own.
“We are technically under the umbrella of the Women’s Guild, but you do not need to be a part of that group in order to volunteer for the New Baby Welcome Ministry,” says Kathy Bidelspach, the coordinator for the ministry. “All of the ladies in this group remember well what that time is like after a new baby arrives. This is a simple way that we can support each other and connect with these families to make sure they know that they are an important part of the community.”
The season of life when you are actively welcoming babies into your family and raising small children is a time that can be busy and hectic. It can be difficult to find the time to be active in different ministries in the parish. So, to have the very tangible support of the parish in this way is so helpful to parents.
“When you have young children, you are so busy that it can be difficult to really be involved in the community,” Kathy says. “This is one way that we can reach out to them.”
Typically, the group delivers about four meals to the family, along with a crocheted baby blanket that has been lovingly crafted by the members of the Wrapped in Prayer Ministry. Additionally, they include a small gift. These small gifts have been items such as a children’s prayer book or a wooden rosary. On occasion, the families may live further away from the parish. In these instances, the group will deliver a prepared meal along with several freezer meals.
“It really is a special ministry to be a part of,” Kathy says. “Living in a university town means that we often have lots of families coming and going. Oftentimes, these new families don’t have their own extended family near them so this is one way that we provide some support for them.”
The New Baby Welcome Ministry learns of new babies through friends of the family, the parish office, or from Fr. O’Brien. Kathy then connects with the family and sets up a SignUpGenius with the details, then sends that information out to the women in the ministry. They are then able to sign up to provide meals at their convenience.
“The families that we provide these meals and the gift to are always so thankful,” Kathy says. “Many of them have even joined our group as their children have gotten older.”