NEW YORK — St. Francis Cares, the social ministry organization based at St. Francis of Assisi Church on West 31st Street, recently gave baby gifts to single mothers for their newborns.
Last month, volunteers gathered in a room in the St. Francis House, adjacent to the church, to pack “welcome” gifts for new born clients, the children of women who are raising families in single-parent situations. Shown in photo is Maureen Hess, director of St. Francis Cares, in center wearing purple, with volunteers at the Feb. 26 event.
The Precious Baby project is just one of the ways the St. Francis ministry has been caring for the neighborhood. Its seasonal projects collect handcrafted clothing, toys, accessories, school supplies, holiday gifts, cash and much more for those in need.
Baby gifts included onesies, socks, shirts, bib, ratatles, clothing, and handmade items, according to Hess. She makesPrecious Baby Project donations throughout the year, often at holiday times such as Easter and Mother’s Day or whenever donations reach critical mass.
“I try to keep people happy, ” said Hess. “I hope I succeed.”
In all, the program has served 1,750 newborns, an average of almost 20 babies per month, according to Hess, adding, “We are very grateful to our generous monetary contributors.” Since its founding in 2000, the Precious Baby project has grown significantly.
For Easter, the minstry asked for donations in an act of “kindness” for children and seniors, she said.
Other Cares programs include a Grandparent Group, where volunteers shop for, wrap and deliver gifts to social service agencies. The Knitting/Crocheting Group and the Women in Special Circumstances Group provide baby clothing and accessories.
“As director of St. Francis Cares, my goal is to develop other related programs, and continue the process of helping those less fortunate,” she added.
Donations to support the program’s Easter project should be made payable to St. Francis of Assisi Church and sent to St. Francis House, attention: Maureen Hess, 135 West 31st Street, New York, N.Y., 10001.