by Derrick Vander Waal SIOUX CENTER – Northwestern College seniors Laura Huls and Allysa (Duren) Michael realized they did not have to go far to do cross-cultural mission work.
They only had to travel 12 miles from their Orange City campus to Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center.
Promise Community Health Center clinical assistant Ruth Hernandez packs Baby Bundles with items that were collected and donated through a drive led by seniors Laura Huls and Allysa Michael for their nursing program at Northwestern College in Orange City.
And most of the work could be done on campus.
To graduate with their bachelor of science in nursing degree, Northwestern nursing students are required to complete a cross-cultural mission project. Huls and Michael joined forces to do a Baby Bundles drive by collecting items and raising funds to fill bags that will be given to mothers of Promise babies prior to the birth of their child.
“I have been around the world doing missions, and one thing that it has taught me is that there is need everywhere including close to home,” Huls said. “I really enjoyed touring Promise for a clinical requirement in our community health class and decided that my mission was going to be close to home as many people from other cultures benefit from the wonderful care Promise provides.”
After corresponding with Promise clinic manager Brittany Hamm about the project, Huls and Michael set their drive for the month of February. They hung flyers around campus and sent out a campuswide email. They set out collection baskets in four areas on campus. They hosted several meetings and shopping trips to gather donations. Huls and her sister, Sarah, and Michael and her husband, Chris, hosted a Trash for Cash project where they went to every room in the girls’ dorms to take out trash for a donation to the cause.
They collected $131 in cash from the girls’ dorms, about 150 diapers, at least 45 articles of newborn clothes, five homemade baby blankets, several packages of baby wipes, several teething rings, a few baby books, and miscellaneous items such as pacifiers, bottle nipples, diaper cream, baby shampoo and bath supplies. They also had a women’s group from Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Royal donate $200 directly to the Promise’s baby bundles program.
Huls said the project was “a great success.”
“The drive was fun to initiate, especially in the girls’ dorms on campus because what college girl walks past the baby section in a store and doesn’t want to buy something,” she said. “I was even able to take a few girls shopping with me one day, and the baby section of Walmart was hopping for a solid 45 minutes. It was great to see a student response to the needs of the community they had never realized before.”
Huls thinks the community has a high need for early involvement in health care for needy families. She has been on several home visits and has seen firsthand what some families go through just to clothe their children.
Therefore, she thinks the Baby Bundles project will make an impact.
“I believe that the small number of items we were able to collect will be able to bless families with a sense of Shalom or peace for a while,” Huls said. “They will provide comfort, warmth, nurturing and a sense that someone cares for them like we do. I know that those who receive these gifts will appreciate them to the fullest and that Promise will use them to increase the excellent standards of health care that we want to provide to all regardless of ability to pay.”
Hamm said it was a pleasure to work with Huls and Michael on the project.
“They were passionate about the families we serve through our prenatal program, and that enthusiasm fueled their collection of the items and creating awareness about the families we serve,” Hamm said. “The donations they collected will bless many new babies and families and give them a great start to life.”
Promise Community Health Center, headquartered in Sioux Center, is the only Federally Qualified Health Center in the far northwest corner of Iowa. To learn more, visit www.promisechc.org.
ABOUT THE PROJECT:
Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center started the Baby Bundles project in the summer of 2013 based on a program in Finland.
Clinic manager Brittany Hamm said Promise staff realized that some families need help with preparing for a new baby, but the research shows that all families – no matter their income or health insurance status – can benefit from receiving a care package with necessary items for preparing for a baby.
“Promise was enthusiastic about getting a program started, so we sent a letter to area churches and organizations, asking for their help,” Hamm said. “The response and support was overwhelming, and the project took off.”
Promise staff sorts the donated items, packs the bundles and distributes them to all expectant mothers prior to the birth of their baby.
To participate in the Baby Bundles project, contact Promise at 712-722-1700.