FAITH Erie January/February 2012 : Page 22

feature story T he members of St. Eulalia Parish in Coudersport have been quietly taking an impressive number of positive steps when it comes to standing in favor of life. FAITH traveled to Coudersport this fall for a first-hand look at their efforts. to life! In a rare moment together, almost all of the Maternity Closet volunteers at St. Eulalia Parish took time to celebrate their work. The Maternity Closet “Our mission is very simple,” says Mary Larson, who organized the parish’s outreach to young parents in need in 1999. “We want to support mothers, “These people are doers, fathers and their babies they get it done,” says by giving them diapers, baby wipes, clothes and Father Campbell, who notes equipment.” that St. Eulalia was an active And so, on the first Saturday of each month, they open the pro-life community well doors to their closet — a small before his arrival. room, actually, that now spills out into the parish hall when the store is open. “The doctors in town know about it, The group’s perseverance has paid off. and it’s always in our parish bulletin,” “On our first opening day, we had Larson explains. The volunteers who five mothers,” Larson reports. “But work at the store generally don’t know now the average number of people most of the people who come, and who come by each month is 35.” The those who show up do not need to Maternity Closet operates strictly by demonstrate any proof of need. Moms, word of mouth. dads, grandparents — it doesn’t matter — all are welcome. “We never ask about their situation,” Larson says. “There are a lot of poor people in Volunteers spend time organizing donations each month, as well as operating the outreach. our county.” They do sign a release saying they will not hold the group responsible for anything that’s given out, although Larson says they now limit the equipment they offer. Larson has a list of about 20 people she can call on to help each month: some come to set up and others come to help run the store. But the ministry has truly become a parish-wide effort. “It originally grew out of the Respect for Life Committee of the parish,” Larson says. The Knights of Columbus raise money for the project by holding a pizza party after Mass one Saturday each month and offering coffee and donuts after Masses the next morning. Mary Larson and Father James Campbell with some of the resources offered by the Maternity Closet. 22 FAITH magazine / January/February 2012 / www. FAITHerie .com

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