St. Anthony’s Catholic Church began collecting donations on Jan. 24 for Alpha Omega Care Center through a baby bottle drive. Parishioners can pick up empty baby bottles at the doors for the next few weeks and fill the bottles with checks, cash, and spare change donations for the Care Center and bring them back to the church for pick up. This annual fundraiser at St. Anthony’s accumulates between $3,500 and $3,800 in donations for the Care Center.
St. Anthony’s is not the only parish to help with the baby bottle fundraiser. Parishioner Marge Scott, who has been running the Baby Bottle Fundraiser at St. Anthony’s with her husband John for the past 10 years, said that 30 – 35 churches in the Hillsdale area hold this fundraiser throughout the year. The biggest congregation participating, however, is St. Anthony’s.
Marge Scott explained that the Baby Bottle Drive is one of the biggest fundraisers for Alpha Omega, as the center takes no federal funding and offers all services for free. However, the baby bottles only bring in about one-third of the center’s revenue. The center receives the rest of its funds from general donations and center membership.
Alpha Omega Care Center serves the Hillsdale community by helping “men and women in a situation where they find themselves with an unexpected pregnancy” said executive director Shawn Noblit.
The center provides pregnancy tests as well as mentoring services, giving parents in need the life skills and parenting skills imperative for welcoming a child into the world. By attending mentoring sessions, parents can then earn “baby bucks” that are spent at the “Blessing Store” where they can take home cribs, strollers, baby clothes, baby food, and other home essentials.
Alpha Omega Care center runs almost entirely on volunteer work. A group of Hillsdale College students runs a club called, “The Reall Team,” which meets at the center with middle and high school students to give sex education classes about the importance of abstinence and the benefits of saving oneself for marriage.
Sophomore Margaret Odell said she has a “deep passion for women who need to be cared for and nurtured in difficult situations.” She said her experiences at Alpha Omega led her to find that the center and it’s volunteers genuinely care about the women and their rights and needs.
St. Anthony’s will collect the full baby bottles until they majority of the bottles are received and the funds will then be taken to Alpha Omega Care Center.