Caledonia (Mich.) Christian Reformed Church has opened a baby pantry to help mothers facing financial hardships.
Church member and real estate agent Beth Visser came up with the idea in March 2020, shortly after she had given birth to her daughter, Charlotte.
“Until then, I had no idea how much it cost to buy diapers and all of the supplies that go along with having a baby,” Visser said. “I started thinking there must be a need locally … I feel that God put it on my heart that we could help our surrounding community with this expense.”
Visser called the church, and when she learned it did not have a baby pantry, asked what the possibility would be of starting one. Efforts to get the pantry off the ground were held up because of the COVID-19 pandemic but finally took off this year with the support of the congregation.
“The congregation at Caledonia CRC has wrapped its arms around the pantry and has supported it from the very beginning,” Visser said. “We would not have been able to help the families we have already helped without their donations.”
The pantry stocks baby formula and diapers and hopes to also receive donations of Pull-ups. “We have had some requests for (some) older kids that are developmentally delayed who need Pull-ups and would like to be able to help them,” Visser said.
Four volunteers—Visser, Holly Olejnik, Sam Klunder, and Michele Dieleman—work as a team to help stock the pantry and help mothers that are looking for support. They hope to start a winter weather clothing drive soon and would eventually like to be able to offer books and toys, Visser said.
The pantry is currently supplied by donations received at the church and those sent by delivery through an Amazon wishlist, linked from the church’s website.