As we begin the Walking with Moms in Need Year of Service in the Archdiocese of Detroit, I wanted to highlight one of the critical components of the WWMIN process — the Parish Resource Inventory. This exercise allows you to look at the services available and unavailable to mothers in need in your parish community. Completing the inventory will help you identify resource gaps and better discern how to fill them to best support mothers in need.
Some resources on the Parish Inventory probably already exist on lists in your Evangelical Charity or St. Vincent de Paul files. Still, it will be helpful to pull them out and update them! These include general help-related resources like:
- Catholic Social Service Agencies
- Counseling Services
- Local Food Pantries or Food Assistance Programs
- Housing Programs
- Membership Service Organizations (St. Vincent de Paul, etc.)
- State and Local Social Service Hotlines
- Drug and Alcohol Abuse Counseling
- Child Care Programs
- Job Training
- Adoption Agencies
- Family and Parenting Education
- Legal Support
These resources could be useful to any number of people coming to your parish seeking assistance, so it’s good to have the contact info for each available to all front-line parish workers.
Further, all of these are services that a mother in need might need a referral.
The second category of resources to identify for your parish inventory are resources of specific importance to mothers in need, such as:
- Pregnancy Help Centers
- Mobile Ultrasound Units
- Private Medical Practices offering Ob-Gyn, Birthing and/or Post-Partum Care
- Catholic Hospitals and Clinics
- Community Hospitals and Health Centers
- Birthing Centers
- Maternity Homes (short/long term housing)
The final stage of the parish inventory process looks at what your parish is offering. For example, does your parish provide direct help like diapers, clothing, emergency food assistance, St. Vincent de Paul assistance, mentoring programs, childcare, etc.? Does your parish host activities to support its local service network, like baby bottle campaigns, diaper drives, and fundraisers for pregnancy care centers? Finally, the inventory looks at how your parish communicates the availability of this support to mothers in need.
This process may seem overwhelming, but we’ve partnered with the Office of Evangelical Charity, the Gospel of Life Office, and Catholic Charities of Southeast Michigan to help parishes complete the inventory process. Further, as you complete their inventories, we can share the resources they are finding with their surrounding parishes.
If your parish is interested in completing an inventory and joining in the Walking with Moms in Need Year of Service in your parish, please contact Kathleen Wilson, Coordinator of the Respect Life/Gospel of Life at [email protected] and visit our Walking with Moms in Need website.