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.