Lucy Meets Grace & Hope
I don't remember exactly how it started. Maybe it came as an idea after having visited one of our sister centers in a different town. Maybe it came from an excess of some baby items that were gathering dust. However it came about, it was a wonderful idea!
We like getting free stuff; that's part of who we are. We like it when we get something that we haven't worked for. So why not try to bless our clients, too? That was our thought in January of 2015, so we came up with a wonderful way of doing just that.
Enter the "Stuffed Diaper Bag Giveaway"! Here's how it works:
Lucy* comes to the Center one Monday morning in March to take a pregnancy test. It's a lovely spring morning, and she's quite hoping that the result will come up negative. She's just not ready to have a baby yet. Not only is she not ready, but she's worried about what the baby's daddy will think and say. Will he be excited if it is positive and support her, or will he insist on "handling the situation"? She doesn't know and will have to cross that bridge when she gets there, but right now she just really wants this test to be negative.
After Lucy completes her initial intake form, Client Advocate Susan* calls her back, and they get started. First up is the urine sample needed for the test. While the test is "testing," Susan leads Lucy into a comfortable "counseling" room, and they begin talking. While in the room, Susan finds out pertinent information like 'When was the first day of your last period?' or 'Have you had any previous pregnancies?' or 'Do you feel that there is any pressure in your life right now to abort if you are positive?'
But the real questions get to the heart of who Lucy is as a person. Who will be your support if you are pregnant? Will the baby's father be involved? If so, in what ways? What are your plans for the future? What, if any, are your fears? During the "interview" Susan learns that Lucy believes in God, but is estranged from her home church. Not only that, but as she is a high school drop-out, she has a low-level job in town and can barely afford her monthly bills. She really doesn't know how she is going to afford a child!
The test results in a positive outcome, and Susan joyfully explains that Lucy will receive a free ultrasound so that she can see her baby! Susan and Lucy go over some other information that Lucy will need to know and schedule her for her ultrasound. After Lucy gets her prenatal vitamins and picks out her pair of booties, she leaves, and Susan places her name in the drawing for the stuffed diaper bag.
Lucy gets home and begins reading through the brochure that talks about the Earn While You Learn parenting classes and thinks that it may be just what she needs! Susan explained that the "money" she'll earn is like Monopoly money that can be used in the Center's Baby Closet to buy things like diapers and wipes, clothes, baby food (if she needs it), and even some larger items like cribs, car seats, high chairs.... This would be a great opportunity for her to learn about what's going to happen with her body and her baby while she's pregnant and let her earn money to provide things her baby will need. She decides that on her day off this week, she'll go back by the Center and start the parenting classes!
Thursday rolls around, the day that Lucy has been excited about, and she heads toward the Center. Susan isn't there when she walks in, but a kind lady named Dorothy* is sitting behind the desk. Dorothy gets her started with lesson one. After the video is over, Dorothy comes back in, and, together, they go over what she just learned from the video. Dorothy then explains a little about the homework and that, next week when she comes back, if she'll bring her homework back with her, she'll get an extra dollar. Dorothy then "pays" Lucy and even takes her back to look at the Baby Closet. Lucy tells her that she has decided she's going to save up her Mommy Money until she finds out what she's having, and then she'll start shopping. After Lucy leaves, Dorothy places her name in the drawing for that month's stuffed diaper bag.
Lucy comes in a total of three more times in March for Earn While You Learn. She learns all kinds of wonderful things that pertain to her pregnancy and life situation, and she now has a nice stash forming of earned Mommy Money. She doesn't know it, but each time she has come in, her name has been placed in the drawing for the diaper bag for March.
The last week of March comes, the week when Lucy will be able to see her baby! She brings her friend, sisters, mother, and the baby's daddy with her for them to all see. It is so exciting and nerve wracking to see the tiny heart fluttering like butterfly wings. Suddenly everything begins to become real for Lucy, and she starts to understand that her life is really going to change! After the ultrasound, Lucy tells Dorothy that she'll be back next week for her usual lesson. As Lucy is leaving, Dorothy places her name in the drawing once again.
There have been other girls who have had their names placed in the drawing throughout the month, but none of them have been coming as faithfully as Lucy. When March is over, one name is drawn, and that lady is the winner of the stuffed diaper bag! Because she had come so many times during March, Lucy increased her chances for winning the diaper bag greatly; all those visits paid off, too, because Lucy was the winner for March!
The staff and volunteers got the diaper bag ready so that when Lucy came in next Thursday, Dorothy would be able to surprise her with it! Lucy allowed her photo to be taken, and she left that day in tears. For so many nights, she had cried and worried herself to sleep, not knowing how she was going to provide for her baby. "Apparently the Lord heard me," she thought, "because He's given me such a wonderful gift! I didn't nothing to deserve this, but now I feel like everything will be ok!"
Grace is an amazing thing! God shows us so much grace each and every day, and we are called to do the same for others in need. The Lucys that come to our Center are in need of blessing and grace, and we desire to rain it down on them! But we can't do it without you!
What can you do? You can help us by donating the items to fill a diaper bag. You can help by donating the money specifically to buy things for the diaper bag. You could even help by donating the entire stuffed diaper bag. There are many ways in which this can be done, as well. Suppose you are part of a civic club or church group that is looking for a small, but significant, service project. Suppose you would like to teach your young children how to be a blessing to someone else.
Would you please help us? We have a great desire to continue this tremendous ministry, but as of now, we do not have the means with which to do this. If you are interested in helping out, please take a look at our list of suggested items for the stuffed diaper bags. If you have further questions, please, do not hesitate to contact us!
*Names have been changed to protect the confidential identity of clients and their mentors.