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Blankets, diapers and onesies for Haitian newborns

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Fueled by goodwill and the excitement of donut Sunday, parishioners at Church of the Nativity in Burke assembled 1,200 newborn supply kits to be sent to mothers and newborns in the disaster-impacted areas of Haiti. Stella Marina, a parish ministry that supports Haitian midwives, created an assembly line for volunteers after Sunday Masses Sept. 12. They put two cloth diapers, a blanket, a onesie, a washcloth, a changing pad and two diaper pins into two-gallon Ziploc bags. 

Some children hopped in the assembly line a few times, said Meg Hanrahan, co-founder of Stella Marina. “It’s the little kids sometimes who say, ‘Mom, I want to make them,’ and a lot of families did it multiple times,” she said. “A lot of people liked the hands-on aspect. A lot of times we donate and give to certain causes and obviously that's much needed, but people also like that connection of feeling (they) made something to help somebody.” 

This month, Stella Marina is shipping 4,700 birthing kits, Pack and Plays, and medical supplies to a doctor who serves in one of the Haitian villages built by Operation Starfish, another Nativity ministry. Next month, they’ll ship the newborn kits as well as food and toiletries to earthquake-affected areas. The supplies are much needed, said Hanrahan. 

“Haiti has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the Western hemisphere and about 10-15 percent are due to infections they get from the birthing process because they’re not in a clean environment,” she said. “So just the simple kit that costs $5 can save a mother and baby’s life.” 


© Arlington Catholic Herald 2021