The Alpena Lions Club recently met at J.J.'s Steak and Pizza House for lunch. Lion Tom Woizeschke served as program chair and introduced Kathy Newhouse and Audrey Seguin of the Alpena Baby Pantry as the speakers for the afternoon.
Newhouse began with a history of the Baby Pantry, which was started by Celeste Phillips 12 years ago. It began with just a shelf of baby items such as diapers and formula, along with a few clothing items for newborn babies.
Over time, the Baby Pantry grew to three rooms in the former St. Bernard's School where today 34 volunteers work on donations of baby clothing, diapers of all sizes, baby wipes, baby food, bath supplies and baby bedding.
Newhouse, Seguin and Linda Currier are the current managers who go through bags of used baby clothes, baby bedding, cribs, bassinets and strollers. One of the managers has a charge card and purchases needed items like diapers, baby formulas, baby food, baby wipes and bath supplies.
The Baby Pantry goal is to assist parents in raising healthy children during times of need by providing information and material support. Any family with infants and/or toddlers is welcome at the Baby Pantry. No referral is necessary and all items are free. Volunteers are always welcome. All items are given free to infants and toddlers as available.
Distribution hours for the Baby Pantry are on the third Thursday of each month from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Drop off locations are at the Baby Pantry on the second Wednesday of the month, Jerry's Barber Shop on Second Avenue, the MSU Extension Office at the Alpena County Fairgrounds (Tuesday-Thursday) or by calling 356-6746.
The Baby Pantry partners with the Children's Trust Fund of Michigan and the Alpena CA/N Team. Baby Pantry supporters are the Alpena Exchange Club and the Alpena Kiwanis Club.
Donations are always needed, including diapers of all sizes, baby wipes, formula of all types, baby food, bath supplies, baby clothing from sizes preemie to 4T and bedding.