SJ-R Column – Children’s Holiday Store to benefit nursery’s mission

As originally published in the Our Towns section of the State Journal Register.

As we prepare to celebrate the upcoming Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays with those who are near and dear to our hearts, we ask that you take a moment to reflect on those less fortunate. In our community it is estimated there are at least 3o0 homeless families with school age children. There are also many homeless families with newborns or children younger than school age, and many more families living at or below the poverty level. The Mini O’Beirne Crisis Nursery is helping the most vulnerable children and families in our community find a safe place to turn when a crisis occurs by providing a safe, nurturing environment for children birth through the age of six during times of crisis. We ask that you help us carry out our mission to prevent child abuse and neglect! Mini O’Beirne Crisis Nursery is a non-profit social service agency. The Nursery depends on community donations to continue offering the quality care for the little ones who arrive at the “Happy Blue House.”

From January to October 2016, the Nursery has provided 9,037 hours of safe shelter as well as meals for 1,779 children. In addition, the Nursery provides many basic need essentials to families to help them care for their children, items such as formula, diapers, and clothing; referrals to other community social service agencies; and advocacy and support during a time of crisis. Parents and caregivers come to Mini O’Beirne Crisis Nursery out of a desire to provide a safe environment for their children. Many attend MOCN’s parenting classes in an effort to be a better parent, or attend a parenting support group to learn from others in similar situations. Mini O’Beirne Crisis Nursery’s services are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and are free to any family in need, regardless of income.

At this time of year, Mini O’Beirne Crisis Nursery holds its biggest annual fundraiser, the Children’s Holiday Store. Children, with the help of a volunteer, shop for family, friends, teachers, and even their pets! Items range in price from $1 to $10. While parents wait in a designated area, volunteers will assist the children by helping them keep within their budget and ensure that the child shops for everyone on their list.

The store will be open daily November 26th through December 23rd at 3013 Lindbergh Boulevard, Suite B (between Del’s Popcorn Shop and Indigo restaurant). The store raises funds that enable the Nursery and staff to continue its mission of child abuse and neglect prevention. If you are wondering how you can help, there are several ways! The Children’s Holiday Store is in need of sponsors to cover the expenses of the store. There are several different sponsorship levels that help to assist this event. The Holiday Store also needs over 700 volunteers during the almost month-long event to assist shoppers. Volunteer shifts are 2 ½ to 3 hours in length, a small time commitment that would be a great help to MOCN. This year we are asking volunteers to sign up through signupgenius.com. or by calling the Nursery. Another way to help is by bringing children to shop at the Holiday Store.

Our community’s generous support is what keeps us going, both financially and emotionally. Simply put, we cannot do it without YOU. Our promise to you is that we will use your contribution carefully and efficiently with one goal in mind: to provide the best care possible to the children of our community who have nowhere else to turn for help.

On behalf of the Crisis Nursery staff and Board of Directors, I cannot thank you enough for your generous support. May you and your loved ones enjoy a holiday season filled with peace and joy! For more information, please contact Mini O’Beirne Crisis Nursery at 525-6800 or visit our website at www.miniobeirne.org.