Align Life Ministries offers free baby care essentials

Align Life Ministries, through its Align Pregnancy Services, is offering free baby care essential items to any family in need, whether currently a client or not. Families can receive a six-week supply of diapers, wipes, and formula free of charge. These essential baby care items are available for safe, contactless pickup at any of Align’s four locations throughout Lancaster and Lebanon counties.

“It really has been a ‘city on a hill’ moment,” said Lisa Hosler, president of Align Life Ministries. “We have boldly acted in faith to do everything possible to support the families in our communities that need our services and shine the light of Jesus in the process. That light continues to shine bright and is providing hope and love to so many who need it during this season of COVID-19.”

Families can receive a six-week supply of essential baby items, such as formula, diapers, and wipes. (Photo provided)

Headquartered in Lebanon, Align Life Ministries has Align Pregnancy Services locations in Lebanon, Columbia, Lancaster, and at Ephrata. “We know many families are left hanging, with limited ways to get the essential baby care supplies that many of us take for granted,” said Kati Swisher, Align Life Ministries executive vice president. “We were recently made aware of a situation in which a family of six is quarantined at home due to COVID-19 and in desperate need of diapers, wipes, and formula. We have been able to provide for them and help ease the burden of such a unique, trying situation.”

The organization had offered baby care essentials to its clients free-of-charge pre-Covid-19. “When the pandemic first hit, there was a run in the stores. A lot of things weren’t available including baby wipes and formula,” said Mathea Otero, Align pregnancy services director. ”The Lebanon WIC (the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children) office remained open, but cut back on its hours. That combination meant that we saw an uptick in requests for baby care essentials.”

Additionally, she said that the health and safety mandates in place during the early months of the pandemic meant that the organization could no longer offer in-person services. “We wanted to continue to serve the community. With the need for baby care essentials, we decided to expand our outreach to the entire community,” Otero said.

In addition to expanding its outreach to encompass the community, Align has also added another component. While Align’s Lebanon location at 132 S. 8th St. offers contactless baby care essentials pickup, Otero said a number of moms don’t have access to transportation to pick-up the items, so a team has been organized to provide contactless front porch delivery.

She said since the pandemic began, a number of Lebanon County’s social services agencies have reached out to Align and referred the mothers they serve to Align for specific needs such as the baby care essentials. “We have a holistic approach. We not only offer physical support such as baby care essentials, but we also offer emotional and spiritual support. Sometimes moms just need to talk or to know that someone cares—that they’re not alone,” she stressed.

Align’s services are free and confidential. Pregnancy services such as support sessions have now been shifted online via Zoom. They include a 15-session prenatal course and parenting classes that are available from the birth of a child until age 12. When a mom attends classes faithfully, she earns credits that can be spent in Align’s baby boutique to purchase items such as cribs, strollers, and clothing. “Some of the moms that have received baby care essentials that had not been clients before the pandemic have participated in our Zoom classes. We’re glad we can offer this resource to them,” Otero said.

Matt Kocher, Align’s vice president of resources and communications, said although the program to provide six weeks of baby care essentials free of charge to those in the community in need was launched during the pandemic, it has since shifted to become part of Align Life Ministries’ long-term plan. “We’ve been blessed in our supporters — we have a supply of items. This is a way we can continue to serve the community,” he said. Otero added that donations of baby care items are gladly accepted.

Align Life Ministries was launched in 1985 by a group of five Lebanon County women. According to the organization’s website, the women “had a vision to act on their life-affirming convictions by sharing the gospel and practical services with women facing unintended pregnancy.” Their vision launched the Crisis Pregnancy Center of Lebanon County. As the organization expanded its services into Lancaster County, the name was changed to Susquehanna Valley Pregnancy Services. When the organization revised its mission statement in 2016, the name was changed to Align Life Ministries to reflect its broader scope of ministry — serving clients, partnering with other organizations, and producing resources.

For further information or to seek assistance, visit Align Life Ministries’ website. The Lebanon location can be contacted at 717-274-0600.

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