Posted Online: April 25, 2008, 5:10 pm
Nine months of labor births baby pantry
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By Claudia Loucks, firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo: Claudia Loucks|
The Rev. Joel Parsons and his wife, the Rev. Karolyn Parsons, pastors at Coal Valley Church of the Nazarene, sort through some of the items included in the church's Baby Item Pantry.
COAL VALLEY -- An idea born at the Coal Valley Church of the Nazarene will pamper parents and their infants.
Church pastors, the Rev. Joel Parsons and his wife, the Rev. Karolyn Parsons, created a "Baby Item Pantry" to provide clothing, diapers, wipes, bibs, blankets and other baby gear and equipment when needed.
"We try to have the items that food stamps and other assistance programs typically do not cover," Rev. Karolyn Parsons said.
The pantry is open from 10 a.m. to noon on the third Saturday of every month at the church at 103 East 3rd St., Coal Valley.
The "dream" to create such a pantry dates back a couple years, she said, when her husband started praying for ways to meet a specific community need, she said.
"The baby item pantry came to mind," Rev. Karolyn Parsons said. "We know there are many churches in the area that offer food pantries, but not necessarily things for babies and young children."
As parents of two young sons, her husband and she are aware of how fast children outgrow their clothes.
"We began to notice just how many clothes and other baby items we were accumulating from our own sons growing so fast, and that made us stop and think that there must be other families with children who also were outgrowing their clothes and might be looking for someone to pass them on to," she said.
"There are many families with boxes of children's clothing they are not using, and just as many families out there who need clothing and baby items for their children."
Church members labored for nine months to collect supplies for the pantry to deliver to parents.
"We have been able to help several families," Rev. Karolyn Parsons said. "We have many pregnant teens who come to the pantry, as well as grandparents who are helping take care of grandchildren. In general, the people who visit the pantry are those who have found themselves faced with hard times and they need a boost."
The pantry continues to accept new and gently used clothing.
"We appreciate all donations and any contributions of money so we can buy more items for the pantry," she said. "Recently, we received $80, and that allowed us to purchase more diapers."
Other people have sewn baby blankets, including a local Girl Scout troop.
Moline Kids Campus Day Care also collected some baby items for the pantry.
"We are growing and the word is getting out in the community about the pantry," Rev. Karolyn Parsons said.
"Usually people think of churches helping those in need through food donations, but the results we have seen from the baby item pantry are so encouraging," she said. "There is a need and there are people willing to help."
For information about it or to donate, call the church at (309) 799-7761 or visit its www.coalvalleynaz.org Web site.
"Many families are having a difficult time right now with gasoline and food prices on the increase," she said. "If we can take care of a piece of their needs by helping out with children's items, that is one less thing for them to worry about."
It's also a way to follow through on how "Jesus has called all Christians to do acts of compassion," Rev. Joel Parsons said, "and we believe the baby item pantry is a tangible way for us to be the hands of Christ."