Catholic Sentinel photo by Ed Langlois
Geraldine Misa and Janet Rathbone organize donations to crib at St. Joseph the Worker Church in Southeast Portland.
Catholic Sentinel photo by Ed Langlois
Geraldine Misa and Janet Rathbone organize donations to crib at St. Joseph the Worker Church in Southeast Portland.
Catholic parishes in Oregon can host an ordinary baby crib that comes empty, then leaves full of infant gifts for families in need.

The crib program is sponsored by Catholic Charities' Pregnancy Support and Adoption Program. Workers deliver the empty cribs to church entries and hallways and pick them up later after parishioners have had a month to donate diapers, wipes, newborn clothes, maternity clothes, baby swings, bouncy chairs, playpens and strollers.

Last year, Catholic Charities’ Pregnancy Support and Adoption Program served more than 300 clients.

Here's how the program started. One day, the donation coordinator for the Pregnancy Support Program was organizing donations and ran across an old crib. Flimsy, unsafe and scratched up, it could not be given away. The coordinator cringed at making a dump run, so kept moving the crib here and there. For six months, it always seemed to be in the way.

Finally, it was a time of year when donations trickle in slowly. The need is constant, but donors act in waves.  

The coordinator looked at the old crib and decided one act could solve both problems. She painted the crib with pastel colors and Catholic phrases and began asking parishes to host it for a month of gift-giving.

Parishes can still sign up to host the crib. Contact Shawn Cass at [email protected] or 503-688-2504.