Diocese expands ministry to pregnant and new moms

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PROVIDENCE — With Ada’s first pregnancy, she didn’t have the support, she didn’t know the resources available to her. She often ran out of diapers and clothes and had trouble finding people to talk to. Her OB GYN suggested that she reach out to Saint Gabriel’s Call, a ministry of the Diocese of Providence dedicated to easing a mother’s worries by providing families with diapers, toiletries, cribs, baby carriers and many other items.
“Knowing that there are resources out there for moms could definitely help in the decision of having a baby and not resorting to other options,” Ada said.
To strengthen this already faithful commitment to mothers and families in Rhode Island, Bishop Thomas J. Tobin has announced a pledge to double the assistance the diocese provides to pregnant and new mothers, as well as their children, through this ministry that has an incredible impact on countless lives.
The commitment increases annual funding for assistance to the Diocese of Providence’s Office of Life and Family Ministry to $50,000. The increased resources will allow the ministry to provide financial, material, social-emotional and other wide-ranging support to mothers and their children including cribs, car seats, furniture, baby clothes and linens, diapers, formula, toys, household goods, toiletries and gift cards.
Mothers who participate in the program also receive one-on-one support as well as referrals to meet any other needs through a case worker. Saint Gabriel’s Call provides services from three locations in Providence, as well as at satellite locations in Newport, Wakefield, Warren, West Warwick and Woonsocket.
Increased economic stress brought on by the rising costs of groceries and fuel prices, along with supply-chain issues, and the unavailability of needed baby items like infant formula, places additional undue stress on new, struggling families, explained James Jahnz, diocesan Secretary for Catholic Charities and Social Ministry.
“It’s a critical time for the diocese to redouble our longstanding efforts to support mothers and children,” Jahnz said.
“Low-income mothers are disproportionately affected during these economic and supply chain crises due to so many factors including transportation, access, limitations of aid programs and retail shortages. Bishop Tobin’s assistance aims to help these young families bridge the gap between their means and existing programs.”
Saint Gabriel’s Call Assistant Marissa Kelly said the impact on these families can be enormous if the community treats the mothers as children of God, as persons who comes in need of help.
“It doesn’t matter where they come from,” Kelly said.
“We look at the needs of the moms who are bringing a life into this world and we need to support them. We see these people as our brothers and sisters — we are one body, one community. We welcome them with open hearts, with love and with kindness because they need a lot of this.”
Mika, another mom who has benefited greatly from this ministry said, “There’s no shame in going there because you feel comfortable, you feel like this is a family.”
“Saint Gabriel’s Call is a life-affirming ministry that offers material, emotional and spiritual help,” said Lisa Cooley, Coordinator of the Office of Life and Family.
“We take mothers and children by the hand and walk them over the threshold of desperation to one of hope and joy.”
Mothers in need in Rhode Island can call 401-421-7833, extension 225 or email lcooley@dioceseofprovidence.org. All services are free and confidential.
Those who wish to contribute to this program can mail a check to Catholic Social Services (Attn: Gabriel’s Call), 1 Cathedral Square, Providence, RI 02903.

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