Almost 200 people gathered at Vestavia Hills UMC on March 14, 2009, for the Clergy Spouses Benefit Luncheon for Babies First. The event raised more than $2000 for this ministry of the United Methodist Children's Home.
Babies First is a residential group-home for young mothers who wish to raise their children and are either pregnant or struggling to support their baby alone. The ministry equips the mothers with life skills, education, responsibility and job skills they need to take care of themselves and their babies. Babies First acts as a surrogate family for these young mothers and their babies.
Patsy Willimon says, “The main thing from promoting and having this event was the interest and awareness that was created for this ministry.”
Clergy spouses, clergy and laity from throughout the North Alabama Conference attended the event. As did the staff of the Birmingham Babies First home and some of the mothers and babies. The Messengers of God children's choir from the UMC Hispanic Ministries in Albertville provided after-lunch entertainment. They sang songs in Spanish and English. The entire choir also played guitar during some of their songs.
During 2008, the North Alabama Conference clergy spouses choose Birmingham Babies First as their mission project. They collected more than $10,000 in gift cards which they presented to the ministry during the clergy spouse gathering at Annual Conference 2008.
During the luncheon Elise Smith, Group Home Supervisor for Birmingham Babies First, noted that the ministry was still living off that generous donation of gift cards.
The United Methodist Children’s Home estimates that a gift of $200 will supply one month’s groceries for one mom and her baby. A gift of $575 will help a mom with educational expenses for one year. A gift of $175 will supply one month’s household supplies for the entire home. A gift of $1225 will supply one month’s utilities for the entire home.
During the luncheon, Children’s Home staffer Ashley Anderson offered many ideas for local churches to use to raise funds and to continue to support the Babies First ministry. One way is to fill up a Baby Bottle bank (The Children’s Home will provide it.) with coins, cash or gift cards. Clergy Spouses are asked to bring their church's bottles to the Cookie and Conversation gathering on Saturday, June 6 at Annual Conference 2009.
The United Methodist Children’s home has Babies First programs in Birmingham, Mobile and Selma.
Click here to watch an online video about the Babies First ministry.
For more information about this and other ministries of the United Methodist Children’s Home visit their website at www.umch.net