Jackie Bach picks up clothing and supplies from volunteer Kim Keenan at the Women’s Care Center in Rochester Sept. 30. (Courier photo by Jeff Witherow)

Jackie Bach picks up clothing and supplies from volunteer Kim Keenan at the Women’s Care Center in Rochester Sept. 30. (Courier photo by Jeff Witherow)

Catholic ministry helps expectant Rochester women welcome children

The Women’s Care Center in Rochester helps expectant and current mothers by providing families with newborn and infant necessities.

An all-volunteer Catholic ministry, the center coordinates with individuals and such Monroe County agencies as Villa of Hope, Hillside Family of Agencies and Catholic Family Center.

“We have been a resource for preparing mothers who are expectant with all of the basic necessities for the baby’s arrival, which we do through the various hospitals in the area and its social work agencies,” said Hollie Harvey, Women’s Care Center director.

As part of the ministry’s ongoing work, the center responds to agency requests to address the needs of poor families welcoming new babies within the city, Harvey said.

Operating with just six volunteers, the building located at 3252 Lake Ave. provides storage space for donations and is open every Wednesday from 1 to 4 p.m. During that time, individuals can come to pick up such items as car seats, play pens, layettes, diapers and formula.

Needed items are donated gently used, new or purchased by volunteers with funding from such sources as a grant through the Diocese of Rochester that was received in February. Harvey said the center provides eight to 10 car seats each week to families in need. In addition to donations of money and goods, the center also runs on the power of prayer, she added.

“We do all of this through the grace of God and divine providence,” Harvey told the Catholic Courier Sept. 24. “We have a lot of people praying for us, and everything is sort of generated through prayers asking God to please provide for our needs.”

Sisters at the local Carmelite monastery, who help in praying for the center and its continued efforts, adopted the ministry as their “Infant Jesus Mission” as an apostolate outreach for their contemplative prayer life.

”We are thankful for these many blessings,” Harvey said, noting that it is through such prayers that many needs are met.

The Women’s Care Center also provides pro-life resources through their partnership with Compass Care, a pro-life clinic in Henrietta that provides free ultrasounds, counseling and support. Harvey said the Women’s Care Center refers newly expectant mothers and those experiencing unexpected pregnancies to Compass Care for help.

Although the center is open just one day a week, volunteers may be reached by phone at 585-865-0360 or by calling the 211 Lifeline, both of which operate 24/7.

“We volunteers are working here on behalf of the church, to strengthen our mission as Catholics to love God and to love our neighbor as ourselves,” Harvey said.

EDITOR’S NOTE: For more information on the Women’s Care Center or to make a donation, visit http://womenscareroc.com/index.html.

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