Providence House


Children in need who've already been born could use a hand, too

Posted December 11, 2012 in Articles

Author: Regina Brett, The Plain Dealer

Babies need your help.

Living, breathing, crying babies.

I thought of them when I read that Ohio Senate Republicans are moving forward with yet another anti-abortion bill, this time "heartbeat" legislation that would ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat is heard.

When it comes to helping babies, let's do more to help the ones who have already arrived in this world, who turn into homeless children who show up at Providence House with all their belongings in a blue plastic bag.

Sometimes they arrive with no shoes.

The motto of the crisis nursery for newborns to 6-year-olds is this:

Every child is your child.

What would happen if we all believed that?

We'd break out our checkbooks and credit cards and tackle the Wish list at

It broke my heart to see this item listed: Child-sized rolling suitcases.

I asked the CEO of Providence House, Natalie Leeks-Nelson, about that need.

"A lot of our children arrive with just the clothes on their back," she said. "We give them each five new sets of clothes to take with them when they leave. We don't want to send them out with another blue grocery bag."

The first days the children are at Providence House, they pack that suitcase every night with their new clothes. Their little lives have been disrupted from evictions and violence and parent hospitalizations so many times, they're afraid they'll have to pack up and leave at any minute.

Two little girls who are 2 and 3 stay here when their mom is in the hospital. She's dying of leukemia. A third of the children who come here are homeless; nearly a fourth of them have a parent with a medical need; the rest come from violent homes or have parents with mental health problems.

While you're out doing holiday shopping, shop for them. They could use:

Tennis shoes, sizes 5 to 13. Boys and girls clothing, sizes 6, 7, and 8.

Size 5 and 6 diapers. Educational toys. Floor puzzles with large pieces. The shelter also needs things to care for the children.

"Bleach and paper towels are like gold," Natalie said.

Donate event passes for the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo & Rainforest, Lake Metroparks Farmpark, Children's Museum and PlayhouseSquare so they can go to children's plays.

If it's easier, just send a gift card from Giant Eagle, Dave's supermarket, Target or Babies R Us. If you can be especially generous, get twin bed mattresses, or toddler/ crib mattress or help cover the addition they're building to house more children and help children up to 10 years old

"Every, every, every gift matters," Natalie said.

So does every baby.

Drop the gifts off at Providence House at 2037 W. 32nd St. in Cleveland from 9 to 5 weekdays and from 9 to 1 p.m. on weekends. For information, call 216-651-5982 or email

If you want to help pregnant women who choose not to have an abortion, support Maggie's Place. For information on this home for expectant moms in Parma, check out or call 440-886-2620.

There's also Laura's Home, a crisis shelter for women and children run by the City Mission. They need diapers, pull-ups, baby wipes and baby formula. They could also use twin sheets, pillowcases, towels and washcloths.

They have a registry online where you can buy pink boots for a little girl, Cars underwear for a little boy, strollers and car seats. Call 216-472-5500 or go to

Birthright centers all over Ohio need clothes and items for newborns. You can locate them online at or in the phone book.

Cleveland Pregnancy Center at 2038 West 29th St. in Cleveland and 50 N. Rocky River Dr. in Berea could use help. Call 216-631-0964 or 440-243-2520 or go to

They need infant formula, diapers, wipes, baby clothing, bottles, new cribs and mattresses, strollers, swings and bassinets.

Babies all over the area are crying out for help.

It doesn't take a fetal monitor to detect their need.

To reach Regina Brett:, 216-999-6328


Twitter: @ReginaBrett

Original Article:

Back to News