Healthy babies mean a healthier future
A mobile outreach to serve needy families in outlying areas is what the new Meadow Rose Society is striving to become.
The Chilliwack-based group provides everyday necessities for raising healthy kids under three, from diapers, creams, powders and pablum, to vitamins and fresh fruit.
"Meadow Rose was founded on the belief that all children deserve a good start for a bright future," said executive director Kathereen Kessler.
Families are struggling. Prices are on the rise. There is little money left sometimes for the basics.
"The Meadow Rose Society is here to ensure that children under three are not casualties of these harsh realities," said Kessler.
She and an office staff member work in tandem with a board of directors.
The society has applied for charitable status with the future vision of expanding to a mobile outreach service to rural areas like Agassiz, Hope, Yale and Boston Bar.
"Families in outlying areas may feel the pressures of raising young children in difficult times even more keenly than those living in cities," she said.
"Isolation from urban centres can leave those who are already struggling to provide for their families with a gap that Meadow Rose can help fill."
Karen Kellett, a social worker who has used Meadow Rose services, can't say enough good things about their work and its impact.
"I understand when families live in poverty, as many families do now because of the economy, feeling useless and guilty because they can’t afford formula or diapers is devastating.
She offered the example of a single mom of two very young boys, struggling to feed her family. She was so thin she was almost anorexic because the choice she had was to either feed the children, clothe and diaper them — or eat.
"Welfare didn’t give her enough to do both. Her choice of course was to put her children first."
If Meadow Rose manages to bring its outreach services to areas like as Hope, Boston Bar, Agassiz, "the families will be thankful, grateful, be able to provide for their children in a healthy and good manner.
"True generosity with no string, in this day and age, is rarer than finding a purple elephant in my backyard. Because these families are unable or unwilling to move to an urban area should not mean they have to do without...it should not mean they are less than, even though they may feel less than because they can’t afford the basics.
The operation is dependent on donations and proceeds they've earned from hot dog sales. They provide milk for breastfeeding mothers, as well as formula for those who can't, along with the other household goods.
Gaining charitable status from Canada Revenue Agency is seen as the next stage in the evolution as a not-for-profit organization, and they're actively seeking community support for their application.
"Any letters of support will help."
Services aren't restricted to the office hours kept by staff at the Victoria Avenue headquarters.
"With our after-hours phone line, we are available to provide emergency services 24/7," she said.
Recent clients have included a young mom who was desperate, with no money for diapers and a baby that was suffering a bout of diarrhea. Another was awaiting child support that never came and needed baby formula right away.
They also accept donations of items like: diapers, wipes, formula, pablum, jarred food, soaps and more
Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.meadowrosesociety.com.