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Donation to St. Gianna’s designed to lift mothers’ spirits


In a world where mothers are struggling to support their children, sometimes the nicer things that make them feel good must be sacrificed. With community support, they don’t have to.

Cheryl Zielen–Ersing (right) received a basket of makeup, sunscreen and assorted toiletries from Carol Anne Cornelius. The donation, which came from Sadie Cornelius, will be offered to visitors of the St. Gianna Molla Pregnancy Outreach Center. Photo by Patrick J. Buechi

“If a mom is struggling and has to decide diapers and makeup or toothpaste or deodorant, which do think she is going to choose?” asked Cheryl Zielen-Ersing, coordinator of the St. Gianna Molla Pregnancy Outreach Center. “The moms who come through the door here, I can see that they really sacrifice for their families and for their kids. The kids come first. When we can get them something like this, it’s such a treat.”

A recent donation of two laundry baskets of makeup and toiletries were delivered this week to the downtown Buffalo center. The donation came from a generous young lady and her friends who wanted to put their unused goods towards good use.

Sadie Cornelius, 23, receives packages of makeup from IPSY. For $12 a month customers get a grab bag of five makeup items delivered to their door. After dropping off a few things at the Mother Teresa Home, Cornelius decided to do some more to help women struggling to make ends meet while care for their children. She tweeted her friends to gather their unused, unopened makeup. They jumped at the opportunity to help. In less than two weeks, Cornelius gathered enough cosmetics to cover a dining room table. People were leaving stuff on her porch. Someone donated $50.

“I think it was a really great idea for her to think about the girls. When you’re pregnant, it’s a tough time in your life,” said Sadie’s mother, Carol Anne, who made the drop off because Sadie was too busy with classes, babysitting and work to make the drop herself.

St. Gianna Molla Pregnancy Outreach Center provides material, emotional and spiritual support for mothers, fathers and young families in need. That includes the basics of diapers, wipes, bottles and strollers. When talking to families, they learn of other items they may need. They also share the story of St. Gianna Molla, who sacrificed her life to save her unborn daughter.

The staff builds a relationship with the families as they return every season to pick up weather-appropriate clothing for their children, and dropping off the gently used clothes the children have outgrown.

“There are not a lot of resources for clothing,” Zielen-Ersing explained. “Families, when they come to see us, they have the opportunity to do a clothing exchange after their initial visit. So, they can bring back the clothing that they’re no longer using. We can pass that along to other families. Then we can help them with the next size up or the season they are in need of at the time.”

Right now, there is a need summer clothes for newborn to 3-year-old. Receiving blankets, diapers and lotion are always in great demand.

“Our families are incredibly overwhelmed by the fact that people who don’t even know them would do so much to help them provide for their families,” said Zielen-Ersing. “At one point I had a mom break down in tears and say she didn’t know anyone cared. In addition to providing all the material and fundamental items that we do, it’s offering families hope and letting them know that they’re cared about.”

To set up a donation call 716-842-BABY (2229).