This week, Jennie Pollock talks to Mary Somerville, who leads the Baby Basics project in Sunbury, Hampton and Hanworth Methodist Churches, in Surrey.
As devotees of the BBC series ‘Call the Midwife’ will know, babies rarely arrive on schedule. After the months of preparation, some are late while others burst into the world early, catching everyone unawares.
The same was true of the Baby Basics project run by Sunbury, Hampton and Hanworth Methodist churches. For several weeks last spring, members of these three churches, coordinated by Mary Somerville, had been collecting, sorting, washing and packing Moses baskets full of the essential, but expensive, items every baby needs, ready for their launch in June. Then on 24th April an urgent call came in – there was a mother in need, could they help now?
And so, a little premature, but in God’s perfect timing, this branch of Baby Basics was born.
I asked Mary what had inspired her to set up Baby Basics and learned that, appropriately enough, the idea was born at the celebration of Christ’s birth in 2013:
“I had the radio on while I was doing the cooking on Christmas Eve, and there was an interview with [Baby Basics’ founder] Hannah Peck about the work she is doing, and it really hit home. I couldn’t stop thinking about it, and I felt that God was saying to me ‘Mary, this is something you can do’.”
Her background in health visiting and midwifery made it easy for Mary to make contact with health visitors in the area, and word quickly spread. A surprising side-effect was the witness the project has been to the health professionals they work with, showing the church doing something active for the community.
Within the church, too, it has been a project in which all ages can participate:
“We’ve had children involved in decorating the gift boxes, and there’s a group of ladies in their eighties and nineties who are not able to do much in the church, but who are delighted to take a bag of donated clothes home to wash and iron for me almost
Meeting the needs of mothers in their community at such a significant time has been a wonderful ministry, and Mary and her team have discovered far more need than they ever imagined – their original goal was to supply 35 baskets per year, now they think they may reach 100 by their first anniversary! And as one of the volunteers commented “This is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done as part of my church outreach.”
If you would like to know more about running Baby Basics or any one of our recognised projects in your local church, you can see the projects webpage HERE. Once you have selected (and been approved) to run a project, you can apply for micro-grant funding HERE.Tags: babies, baby basics, children, clothes, community, donation, hannah peck, hanworth, local church, methodist, midwifery, Moses basket, outreach, sunbury