The Rev. Dorothy Wellington has a passion for helping the homeless, but when she realized she had five pregnant women attending her monthly church she knew she needed to do more for them.
Wellington hosts a Once-A-Month Church outdoors at the Margaret T. Hance Park near downtown Phoenix. For four years she has been gathering volunteers and donations from caterers to serve a meal to the homeless living in and around the park. She believes now she has somewhere between 150 to 200 people who come out each month to be fed and look through the donated clothes and sleeping bags Wellington offers.
"I started because the homeless are kind of like the city's outcasts," Wellington said. "In my heart I've been wanting them to see that the community is not against them. Even though they're down and out they're still one with us."
Each month Wellington writes down the needs of the people so that she can try and find the right services or donations to help. She realized with five babies on the way those mothers would need more than clothes.
"With a typical baby shower you're at somebody's house," Wellington said. "You have cookies and ice cream and soda and everybody is bringing in their gifts. I thought, how can a homeless person have a baby shower? People don't usually come to the park. I thought maybe we could do one online."
Wellington needs helps getting essentials for the babies. Diapers, blankets, clothes and bottles are the kinds of things she's asking for. She's set up a registry through walmart.com so the items can be sent to a location near her to be donated directly to the soon-to-be mothers. With donations from the community these babies might have something to start with.
Wellington doesn't turn anyone away from her programs. She doesn't ask them why they're homeless or whether or not they're taking drugs. She believes the majority of these pregnant women will be able to keep their babies once they are born. The ones who may not, she says, are still trying hard to change.
"I'm not in rose-colored glasses," Wellington said. "All the women may not come home with their babies. But I have this thought that if she had clothes that the community has given to her who knows how that might impact her if she had to let her baby go. At least she's giving the baby over with gifts from the community. Then those who will keep the baby will have a beginning and not just one shirt from the hospital. The community can be that part of giving these babies a good start."
So far Wellington has received support from Ms. Black Arizona and an East Valley company called Baby Half Off, but she still needs more for these women who have nothing.
For more information on the Online Homeless Baby Shower, visit the Once-A-Month Church's blog at http://homelessloveadoptionproject.blogspot.com or search for the baby registry on walmart.com by entering the name "Dorothy Wellington."
"These are our babies being born," Wellington said. "When these ladies give birth the babies become part of our world. They've got a rough beginning."
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