The Life Ministry Program
A Ministry to New Mothers in Need
“As you know not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so you do not know the works of God who creates all things.“
Five years ago, the St. Paraskevi Community in Greenlawn, New York decided to become more active in meeting the needs of their local community by offering assistance to young mothers in need. The Life Ministry Program was formed to provide these young mothers with many baby care essentials for the first 6 months of their baby’s life. Under the guidance of Fr. John Heropoulos, a chairperson and a staff of workers implement and maintain the Life Ministry Program.
A large closet at the parish has been converted into the Life Center, which is staffed during designated hours by volunteers from the parish. The store is stocked with donated goods and clothing.
On her first visit to the Life Center the young mother is given a starter kit containing: A&D ointment, cotton swabs, saline solution, one-piece tee shirts, diapers, wipes, baby wash, stretchy, 2 receiving blankets, 1 heavy blanket or a bunting suit during winter months, and a light blanket during the warmer months.
Following her first visit, the mother may return to the Center every two weeks for diapers and wipes. During these visits, the mother may also browse the inventory of new and gently used clothing that she may need for the baby. The mother is allowed 12 visits (every two weeks for six months).
Purpose of Life Ministry
To provide new mothers in need of assistance with essential items for their infants for the first 6 months of their child’s life
Getting the Word Out
Local hospitals and family assistance programs in the area are contacted and informed of the program. New mothers in need are referred to the program through the social workers at nearby hospitals and the local community assistance center. Contact is also made with the local Birthright office by which young mothers are also referred.
Stocking the Shelves
To keep the shelves full, local pharmacies, drug stores and toy stores are contacted for donations. Parishioners are invited to support the program through donations of supplies or funds.
The Life Ministry Feast Day
The Feast Day of the Life Ministries Program is February 2, The Presentation of The Lord into the Temple. On that day, following the Divine Liturgy, an Artoclasia is celebrated and all parishioners are invited to bring supplies for the program. New and gently used clothing is gladly accepted and distributed to clients when they visit the Life Center.
The Life Ministry Program has its own working board of administration and is run completely by volunteers from the community, under the guidance and spiritual direction of Fr. John Heropoulos. Volunteers staff the Life Center on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 Noon.
A chairperson is assigned to the Life Ministry Program, and is responsible for maintaining contact with the social workers from the local hospitals and community assistance center. The chairperson oversees staffing of the Life Center and maintains records of participants in the program. The chairperson is also responsible for maintaining financial records for the program