The day before Valentines Day, an “angel” called me out of the blue and said “Someone gave me 5 large boxes of bibs...does Christ Child know anyone who can use them?” Did we ever!! Since the start of the school year, the staff at the Infant and Toddler Early Learning Center at Central High School in Newark has been asking if we could get them bibs, LOTS of them, since the babies go through them so quickly, and they tend to get pretty yucky, pretty fast. Here was a gift of bibs, LOTS of them, from out of nowhere. Well, not exactly nowhere. The “angel” saw our name in the bulletin and knew of our organization because her mother was a member of the original Summit chapter of the Christ Child Society. Her mother joined Christ Child when she moved to Summit from Brooklyn when she was in her EIGHTIES. She lived to be 103 years old. It just goes to show, its never too late to make a difference!
Over 100 CCS members and members of the St. Teresa of Avila community came together on Wednesday, February 6th, for the first annual Blankets for Babies Day. St. Teresas Memorial Hall was organized so that there were different workstations allowing even those if us who dont really care to sew an opportunity to help with the project: some sewed, others cut and pinned the fleece, one very excited group got to use a truly awesome invention called a fringer (who knew such a thing existed) and our rock star teens tied the fringe. Well over 100 of CCSs signature carriage blankets were completed, ready to be packed up in our next bundle of Layettes that will go out the door to Overlook and Morristown hospitals. It was a great day! CCS members had a chance to catch up, meet some new friends, eat the delicious snacks provided by our hospitality team, Maura and Lambi, but most importantly so many were able to do some great work for those kids that really need warm clothes and a cozy blanket. No discussion of the day would be complete without mention of the great job done by Theresa and Janet, who organized and mapped out the logistics, bought the material, and found enough people with sewing machines to make the day really work. Job well done!
One year ago, we held out first mass in a members home, and a tradition was born. We have since held four masses in members homes, and have two more scheduled for this year. It is such a wonderful, spiritual way to celebrate our Christ Child community! As Msgr. Guenther would say, “its a Catholic thing!” Pictured at right is Fr. Brian Plate at the lovely home of Maria Jacobello.
Lambi Newsham at the blood drive held by the Celtic Sisters at the Shillelagh Club in West Orange, NJ in November. The Celtic Sisters have a baby shower each spring to collect layette items for Christ Child Society of Summit. Two Christ Child members are also members of the Celtic Sisters - Paddie Donohue and Jackie Browne.
Lori and Kathryn with friends from the Atlanta chapter
As Co-Presidents, Lori White and I were fortunate enough to attend the National Christ Child Society convention in Detoit on September 21, 2012. The home of Motown did not disappoint! Our host chapter of Detroit was gracious and well organized, and the convention was equal parts inspiring, informational, and fun! We benefitted greatly from our many conversations with members and board members from other chapters all over the country, sharing ideas about programs and new ways to help children. The Atlanta chapter built and maintains a learning garden at a school for disadvantaged children. The Akron chapter provides a “Teen Moms” program for teen parents in partnership with a local agency. The Detroit chapter started a literacy program within the inner city of Pontiac, where poverty rates are over 90%. These are just a few of the ways our members in over 40 chapters nationwide are making a diiference in childrens lives. We aspire to learn from them, and adapt their successes in our own programs.
Yesterday I was fortunate enough to bump into a lovely gentleman at a Hometowne TV open house. He stopped me and mentioned that he was watching all the progress we have made with the Summit Chapter. Little did I know that Miles McMahon was the husband of Virgnia who passed away last summer. She was instrumental in the chapter and a long standing member. Miles told me she was so sad to return the Summit charter back to National. Back in the 80’s Miles told me, she couldn’t get any volunteers to make layettes. Luckily we haven’t had that problem. He also told me he was strong-armed by Virginia to not only help assemble the layettes but drive them to St. Joseph’s Social Center in Elizabeth. He had only good memories of the Chapter and has been watching our progress. Our story continues. Thank you Miles McMahon for your kind words.
If you are like me, youre always thinking, in the back of your mind, how am I ever going to be sure my kids learn all the lessons they need in order to become good adults—the people they were meant to be in every sense. Maybe, just maybe, we dont need to worry so much.
This Christmas, my kids were given a sum of money they could donate to the charity or charities of their choice. I figured I would need to prime the pump, Read more...
so I had cut out Nick Kristoffs annual column on worthy charities (”buy a girl in this country a school uniform so she can attend school”, etc.). To my surprise, however, each of my daughters, when presented with the donation concept, knew exactly where she would send her money.
My one daughter wanted to give all her money to the shelter from where our dog had come...which entailed a FaceBook message to her cousin who is stationed in Mumbai with the State Department to find out from which shelter she had gotten the dog. (We had takent the dog from her, before she took her first assignment.) As a result, a no-kill shelter in August, Georgia received a donation from a girl they didnt know in New Jersey.
My second daughter was equally clear: one half to the Smile Train (she was born with a cleft lip and palate) and one half to the Christ Child Society. Her desire to contribute to our Society floored me. Yes, she had probably been at one of the Garage Sale set ups, and attended a Christmas party at the home for girls in West Orange a few years back, but other than that, I dont think she had, personally
participated in any activities. My only conclusion is that she observed my participation in the Christ Child (and I am always thinking Im never doing enough in this regard) and she had some idea of the goals of the CCS (helping kids who need it). She had no doubts where her money could be used best.
So, at least in this case, the old saw holds true: that kids learn from what you do, no matter what you say.
Christ Child volunteers Jill Stanley, Cheryl Mullery, Christie McGinn, and Sue Hubbard had a very happy Valentines day, sharing it with the babies at Central High. This cutie is all decked out in red hearts and bows! We also brought some small gifts for the teen parents. Candy, cards, flowers, and some treats hopefully helped these teens know that the members of the Christ Child Society of Summit appreciate how hard their job is, and how important it is to be recognized for it now and then. What better day than Valentines Day?
Angela Schroeder hosted this months “First Tuesday Home Mass” for our members. Monsignor Guenther, our celebrant, preached a beautiful homily about how important it is for us to be lovingly present in each others lives, a concept that really resonates with our chapters mission. After the Mass, CCSS members in attendance enjoyed each others company over a tasty brunch. Many thanks to Angela and to her family for sharing their home and for treating us to such a moving and intimate experience. Many thanks also to Tracy Stabler for orchestrating the logistics of the liturgy and for those members who acted as lectors or Extraordinary Ministers of the Holy Eucharist. If you havent had an opportunity to attend one of our Chapters Home Masses, please consider joining us next time. We anticipate having another home mass on June 5th.
The Christ Child Society of Summit got to play Santa today, as we made a holiday drop at the Central High School Early Learning Center that would make the big man himself proud! Thank you to all of our members who contributed in large and small ways. A list of what we delivered:
Advent Giving Tree gifts - these were gorgeous! We unpacked them and they were all beautifully put together, tags and bows in place, and looked lovely. Theresa Sweeney and Margaret Whelan did a fantastic job on these and all the other thousands (?) of presents they coordinated.
Hand tied fleece blankets from Oak Knoll and Girl Scouts - we gave them 29 (20 from Oak Knoll). They had 28 babies as of last week but may have another coming tomorrow....! Maria (the director) is like the Pied Piper of teen mothers.....
Gifts for teen parents (30!) - Terry Andrews did such a great job gathering gifts, buying gift cards and wrapping everything beautifully. What a huge help, and a nice gift for these parents.
Cookies - we brought at least 6 dozen that were dropped off by members. These are for their holiday party on Wednesday. We also brought a bag of childrens CDs (donated by Sally Golding) which were used immediately, as well as some holiday decorations.
Staff Appreciation lunch - Thanks to Lori White for ordering food and getting this together. Sandwiches, salad, chips and drinks, as well as a plate of desserts for the staff to enjoy today. The staff really appreciates this. We are like their honorary PTA moms!
Our hope is that these small gestures will help make this Christmas special for the young families and the staff at Central High School. Enjoy the wonders of the season.