Student initiates baby item drive for Women’s Care Center Print
Written by Kevin Wondrash, Catholic Herald Staff   
Thursday, Feb. 05, 2015 -- 12:00 AM
Lucia Matenaer, baby item drive
Lucia Matenaer, third grader at Immaculate Heart of Mary School in Monona, holds up items she collected for the Women’s Care Center in Madison as part of a baby item drive by her family and school from now until Friday, Feb. 13. (Contributed photo)

MONONA -- Some of the best ideas come from prayer. When we really listen and open our ears, mind, and heart to God, his message can bring us closer to him and help others.

This very thing happened recently for nine-year-old Lucia Matenaer.

Idea comes from prayer

After nightly family prayers during Christmas break, she excitedly ran to her parents with an idea.

"We all were saying what we wanted to pray for, and my mom prayed for families who do not have enough to support their baby," said Lucia.

The idea was to collect baby items for the Women's Care Center in Madison to give to mothers and families in need.

The Women's Care Center, located on Madison’s east side, provides free, confidential counseling, support, and education to women facing unplanned pregnancies.

"She [Lucia] was enthusiastic, had a huge smile on her face and she was full of big ideas," said mother Rachel. "She had already drawn up a draft of the flyer with sample tag lines. It was heartwarming to see her motivated, wanting to take action to make a difference in the lives of strangers."

Idea becomes reality

Lucia took action the next day to make her idea become a reality.

"I called the Women's Care Center, and I put a flyer of it on my blog, and I hung some around school," she said.

Lucia found out the Women's Care Center is in need of baby clothes, pacifiers, diapers, and any other baby products. They also accept gently-used baby items.

She wanted to have places to collect items outside of area stores, but her parents encouraged her to ask for help from family first.

"Within a week or two, she filled a bin with a couple dozen outfits and other baby items from our extended family," said Rachel. "I am very much looking forward to her delivering the collected items, taking a tour of the facility, and seeing the effect it will have on her and her sisters."

Help from her school

Lucia, a third grader at Immaculate Heart of Mary School in Monona (IHM), took her idea one step further, and recently asked her principal, Mrs. Mary Bartsch, if she could extend the baby item drive to her school. Mrs. Bartsch said yes.

"We are excited to partner with Lucia on this generous endeavor which supports our mission of caring and service to mothers in need," said Mrs. Bartsch. "We are proud of Lucia and support all of our students in their service projects."

The school is collecting items from now until Friday, Feb. 13.

Lucia will deliver the items to the center around Valentine's Day.

"We're very excited and very proud of her," said her father Matthew. "She's always had an entrepreneurial quality about her, that once she sets her mind on something she is determined to accomplish it."

"It feels really good," said Lucia. "If I think of babies without clothes, I think of my little brother and I wouldn’t want him to be like that, so I wanted to help them."


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