Nest Program at south side hospital gives baby supplies to mothers in need

With new laws banning abortions, hospitals are anticipating more babies to be born. A south side hospital is preparing baby supply bags for mothers in need.

SAN ANTONIO — We’re approaching three months since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

In Texas, a trigger law is now in effect that bans abortions in the state under almost all circumstances.

At a south side hospital, a new program is helping families who don’t have the necessities to raise a newborn.

With the new laws in place, staff members are prepared to help even more.

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“I know we say they have nine months, but they’re not prepared,” said Lamelle Taylor, Staff Chaplain at Mission Trail Baptist Hospital.

One after another, staff members at Mission Trail Baptist Hospital witnessed more mothers give birth without having what they need. The hospital began to deliver babies in August of 2021.

“Things we take for granted. Diapers, wipes, bottles, things to clean bottles, bath products,” said Taylor. “Clothes, bibs, bassinettes, tubs for the baby.”

Taylor collaborated with hospital leaders to come up with the Nest Program. She created a network of 40 churches and 5 non-profits in and around San Antonio who gather donations of baby supplies.

“I’m a pastor,” she explained. “I didn’t have to reach far!”

When social workers identify a mother with needs at the hospital, a bag of necessities will be ready.

“I’m humbled to be able to fill in that gap, especially with the new laws that are coming down,” said Taylor. “We’ll see more births. We’ll see more people in need who are just not prepared.”

With HIPAA laws, churches will only learn the baby’s gender. Donors don’t know the mother, but each bag of supplies has the church pastor’s information just in case.

“When she told me what it was all about, my heart just opened, my eyes lit up,” said Janice Garman, who joined the Nest program.

Janice and her husband, Pastor Carl Garman are from Emmanuel AME Church on the east side.

“Our church motto is ‘Making a difference where we are’,” said Carl. “It doesn’t matter where we are, we have to make a difference.”

“I always think, what if it was me? It could be my children, my grandchildren,” said Janice. “We don’t have to know them, that’s fine. It’s just all about blessing someone else.”

So far, Emmanuel AME Church has helped three families through the Nest Program.

“I love spending the money on these babies! What a blessing. It’s good to have a husband who doesn’t mind!” said Janice.

“Doing this, I look and I watch [Janice] and how excited she is. I kinda forget about all the money she’s spending!” Carl said with a smile.

For the Garmans, this is more than a program. It’s a ministry.

Isabel Farias, who lives on the south side of San Antonio, learned about the Nest Program thanks to a recent encounter.

“I was thinking after actually seeing a homeless lady in the ditch and in labor, I immediately wanted to help her,” said Farias, who said the woman was taken to Mission Trail Baptist Hospital to deliver her baby.

In her heart, Farias knew the woman was someone’s daughter. It became personal.

“My own daughter that I love so much had a child addicted to drugs,” she explained, saying her other daughter who lives out of state was able to adopt the baby.

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Farias couldn’t stop thinking of the homeless woman, so she decided to buy her baby. Since she couldn’t give the donation to the new mother directly at the hospital, Farias left the supplies with a staff member.

“The Chaplain called me to see if I wanted to volunteer for the Nest Program, I said yes right away,” said Farias. “In my heart, I knew that as a mother and grandmother, and even a great-grandmother it was something that I had to say yes to. The southeast community, as well as Mission Trail Baptist Hospital and plaza are very important to me.”

Though Farias isn’t donating through a church, she is still able to make an impact as an individual giver.

Taylor says the Nest Program is a way of letting families know someone is always in their corner, and they’re never alone.

“I’m emotional even now because no one has to do it. They’re doing it because they want to do it,” said Taylor. “They do it because they know it’s making a difference in somebody’s life. They do it because they remember when somebody helped them. To me, that’s what community is about.”

The Nest Program kicked off in March and has helped 37 families so far. If you’re interested in helping, call the Katie Ivey, the hospital’s Director of Pastoral Care at 210-297-3751.