Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Church aims to help families in need | MyWindsorNow.com

Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Church aims to help families in need

Allison Dyer Bluemel

Our Lady of the Valley Father Gregg Pedersen stands with the cradle at the church where supplies for the Mary's Cradle program will be displayed.

While Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Church has grown over 40 years to a congregation of approximately 3,500 people, volunteers and staff hope to reach out further though their new service Mary's Cradle.

The church, located at 1250 7th St. in Windsor, will open the service Oct. 1.

The program — open to anyone financially struggling, single or married and regardless of race, age or religion — will provide diapers, wipes, formula, clothing and community resource information.

Church members elected to start the program after enrolling the JustFaith program at the church, which examined the global reasons behind poverty for 28 weeks.

After seeing a need for those living in poverty or hard circumstances, they decided to create a program to help local families struggling to make ends meet.

"It's about our love for life and for the poor," Father Gregg Pedersen said. "It's a perfect ministry where they combine."

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Pedersen and program coordinator Kathleen Jones hope that the church atmosphere or the stigma around asking for help won't deter families from taking advantage of the program.

"Maybe if we open our doors, those that need it can come here," Pedersen said.

The first time a family visits the church, they will receive a layette — a set of clothing, linens and sometimes toiletries for a newborn child — to help with the new expenses a family faces when a newborn arrives.

"Newborns and toddlers bring with them not only joy and hard work, but they also place a burden on the family's finances," according to the church's promotional material.

The church will not provide cribs, highchairs, strollers or car seats.

Parents of the newborns can pick up diapers, wipes, formula and clothing weekly until the child reaches 18 pounds. Once they cross the weight threshold, Our Lady of the Valley will provide diapers, wipes, baby food and clothing as needed every two weeks.

The parish members donated the supplies in drives. However, in the long term, the church will maintain the cost of the program, Jones said.

"We'll continue to do drives and ask other churches (to pitch in) if it grows that much," Pedersen said.

Jones hopes that while families visit the church, especially stressed or struggling mothers, the support system of women in the church can help them out.

"We hope that they'll know that there's someone they can talk to and it will give them a sense of community," she said.

In addition to a monthly mother's meeting, the volunteers of the program are mostly grandmothers who will likely love hanging out with the kids while mothers collect supplies, she said.

"We all like to get our baby fixes," Jones joked.

Program Information

Mary’s Cradle Opens: Oct. 1

Hours: 3-5p.m. Wednesdays and 9 a.m.-noon Thursdays

Location: Northeast room of Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Church Hall, 1250 7th St. in Windsor

Phone Number: (970)-686-5084

Run By: Volunteers of the parish

Project Coordinator: Kathleen Jones