Brehon House is an organization here in Tallahassee that I believe does not get enough credit for everything it does. The Brehon organization began serving women and their children in the area in 1978. In 1992, with the opening of the Brehon House, even more services were made available to homeless pregenant and parenting women and their children. Over 300 women and children have been served to date. While at the House, the mothers can complete their education, receive job training, and even learn basic self-care for themselves and their children while living in a nurturing and loving environment.
Every state has several programs such as our Brehon House. Birth Mother Resources has compiled a listing of shelters and services for each state for pregnant and parenting mothers who are homeless or in an abusive situation. I list these organizations under my top 15 places to donate in the new year because so many of them go without resources because of a lack of funding or donations. Even if you just go through your closet once a year, or your children’s toys, everything is appreciated there. Usually websites have a listing of things that are needed the most so you don’t even have to donate money or time if you do not feel comfortable doing that. For example, Brehon House has a listing on their front page that says:
We can always use:
- Diapers of all sizes and “wipes”
- Maternity clothing
- Infant clothing
- Washcloths, towels & other linens
- Toothbrushes & tooth paste
- Baby crib sheets & blankets
- Household items (e.g., dishes, pots & pans)
- Toiletries (shampoo, soap, feminine products)
- Canned goods and non-perishable food items
- Children’s books
The simple things are usually those that they are lacking the most of, as you can see from the list above. So maybe next time instead of dropping off some things at Goodwill, consider doing a Google search for a local women’s shelter and make a donation for a different organization in a huge way.
Organizations such as Brehon quite often also love volunteers and they do various sorts of jobs around the center. Brehon lists their services as: “Pre and postnatal education, career counseling, assistance in finding permanent housing, individual case management, conflict resolution, infant care training, self-esteem building, and an opportunity to bond with their newborn in a loving environment.” Any volunteers that can even remotely assist within these categories are welcomed with open arms. Start a knitting group with these women. What about a one-day a week baking “class” where you just get in the kitchen and teach how to make a pan of brownies or super simple things? How to plant vegetables! Simple things we take for granted every day.
So I suggest checking out our Brehon Institute and finding a group, center, or shelter close to you to make a difference with. These women will never forget it.