By Dawn M. Aerts
Iron County Today
CEDAR CITY–In Cindy Davidson’s small ‘pantry’ you will find laundry bins, tubs, boxes and bags.
It’s here that hospital-bound baskets are filled with the essentials of baby care, the small but important things that mothers hope to provide for a newborn baby at home. Davidson is the volunteer coordinator for St. Martha’s Baskets of care for new moms based at Christ the King Catholic Church in Cedar City.
The project began in 1995. But to Davidson it is more than collecting donations and organizing essentials for a layette.
“These baskets are filled with a lot of care and hope for every new Mom,” said Davidson from the tiny storeroom. “It’s that little bit of extra help in the care of a newborn… or maybe to boost a mother’s spirit too.” The baskets are laundry-size, and she fills them with quilts and burp clothes, receiving blankets, and bottle washers. In winter, baskets will come with warm booties and sweaters.
“Many items are hand-made by ladies in the Parish, community friends, two quilt groups and the work of four LDS wards,” said Davidson who fills and organizes her ‘bins of hope’ weekly. “In the first year, five baskets were given out and by 2015, we had assembled 49.”
Davidson runs the basket-pantry as an enterprise that will continue to rely on the generosity of others as the community continues to grow. The project began with the work of Marty Kravetz, a member who attended a convention in Salt Lake City and who brought the concept back to the local Parish. It was designed as a community assistance project for new mothers and baby: The recipients of the baskets, said Davidson, are determined by the maternity nurses on duty and are always kept anonymous.
Here you will find one bin of stuffed animals and another with baby bottles. Each of the 40 itemized boxes are marked for content and are stacked floor to ceiling with everything from infant socks, to Q-tips or pacifiers.
“Each basket is filled with standard items for a layette, everything that a new mom might need for the first few months,” said Davidson.
But nothing about St. Martha’s Baskets is standard in thoughtfulness.
“We’ve been doing this project since 1995,” said Davidson of the Inter-faith effort. “If a mom knows that someone cares, we hope it will make a difference in their lives.”
While baskets are filled with essentials like clothing, blankets, pacifier and lotions, they may also include hand-made donations, carefully knit jackets with matching hats. There is never a shortage of donated quilts or afghans, and the hospital keeps four baskets on hand – two for the girls and two for the boys.
“The nurses have a keen sense of who needs one of these baskets,” said Davidson, “Maybe it’s the mom who doesn’t have any visitor or who doesn’t receive a card or bouquet in her room.” She credits the Cedar Area Interfaith Alliance Community for their support with direct donations or group referrals.
“When I think about this project, I remember Martha in the Old Testament who was described as a busy homemaker; or the story of Mother Mary who had very few comforts on their journey to Bethlehem,” said Davidson of the basement pantry.
As donations arrive, Davidson organizes supplies and refills boxes for future delivery to the hospital. “Over the years, we’ve filled about 760 baskets for moms returning home with a new baby… It’s just what we do.”
Photo Caption: Cindy Davidson, St. Martha’s Baskets, volunteers her time with the inter-faith effort to provide essentials for new Mom’s coming home with ‘baskets of care’ for baby based at Christ the King Catholic Church in Cedar City. The project accepts donated items at the pantry or at the Catholic Charities Thrift shop. (photo by D. Aerts)