By LORI BERANEK, Special To The Bulletin | Published May 10, 2007
The last scene of the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” involves all of George Bailey’s neighbors and friends from Bedford Falls donating their dollars and circling around George after a desperate call for help from his wife Mary. No matter how many times I see this movie, I’m always touched by it because it reminds me that, in a community, we all matter, we all can do our part, and we are there for each other, even when times get tough.
Recently I found myself in a scene similar to the ending of “It’s a Wonderful Life” when a group of volunteers from Our Lady of the Assumption Church’s Spiritual Life Committee held a “Baby Shower for Moms” to benefit mothers who are clients of Catholic Charities of Atlanta, Inc.’s Pregnancy, Parenting & Adoption Program. Information about the shower was spread by newsletter and e-mail and sent by teachers and friends throughout the OLA school community, not to mention the OLA church, preschool and St. Vincent de Paul community. We started our drive to collect baby shower gifts with one rectangle-sized table’s worth of diapers and other items, but we were still hoping for a greater showing of our care for our sponsored moms. By the end of the drive, the gift table scene had changed dramatically—bouncy seats, changing tables, car seats, blankets, baby clothes, swings, diapers, a rocking chair and many, many other baby supplies literally filled Moylan Hall at OLA. Still more items were brought until the start of the baby shower, and several mothers from the school pitched in to organize, bag and label the items. On the day of the baby shower, many of the OLA mothers took time to attend and to welcome three special guests, clients of Catholic Charities (the two babies in attendance were the “stars” of the shower) and three caseworkers from the PP&A Program. At the shower, a caseworker shared that a new mom had just come to Catholic Charities with literally nothing but the clothes on her back, a mattress and her baby. Organizers quickly reshuffled items to make sure that this particular client had her own gifts, including a rocking chair and a baby bed. The day culminated with the “borrowing” of a St. Vincent de Paul truck, which was driven to the Catholic Charities’ office filled to the brim with items for moms who could not attend the shower. Three caseworkers also loaded their vans with items for the moms who attended. The Catholic Charities Pregnancy, Parenting & Adoption Program extended a special thanks to the OLA parish, school and preschool communities as well as members of St. Vincent de Paul. Those who gave were gratified to know that the generous supply of baby gifts will help many who have so little.
Lori Beranek is a member of the Spiritual Life Committee at Our Lady of the Assumption Church, Atlanta.