NATIONAL CITY —Thanks to a group of determined women of faith, mothers-to-be facing challenges have a warm place they can receive articles for their babies and for themselves at no cost.
The project is known as “Baby’s Room,” or “El Cuarto de Bebé” in Spanish, and it’s organized by a small team of parishioners from St. Anthony of Padua Church. The team helps pregnant women or moms with babies under one year of age.
Alejandra Arroyo, who began the project with her friend, Hilda Parra, explained that the parish loaned them a little house that they adapted to look like a store. They stocked it with small items, from “onesies” and tiny socks for newborns to outfits for older babies to toys on brightly decorated racks. There are also large items, such as playpens, cribs and car seats. The items are either new or lightly used, and everything is donated.
Most of all, the group wanted to create a positive environment for the women, who can select between eight and 10 items, two of which could be large ones. They can also select items for themselves, including maternity wear
“The mothers can have an experience as if they were going shopping,” said Arroyo. “We want it to look as nice as possible, so the women feel special, not like they are getting stuff others have discarded.”
Women sign up to be able to visit Baby’s Room, which is open one Sunday a month. They can take up to 30 minutes to select their items, having the room all to themselves.
It was important for the women to be treated with dignity, not made to feel like poor residents scrambling for whatever they could get.
Since opening on March 21, Baby’s Room had served an average of 10 to 12 women for the first couple of months. By mid-July, the number was up to 30. That’s not all. As word of the project has spread, the donations have piled up, allowing more moms to be helped.
Women who received the gifts in the early months of the project have now started to return with their newborns to thank the women.
“We have begun a wall for babies’ photos,” said Arroyo. “This really motivates us to work harder so we can help more mothers.”
Women who would like to visit Baby’s Room may call Alejandra Arroyo at (619) 666-9045 or email email@example.com, to register for the next session, scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 1.