Grass Roots Update

August 1, 2018

Hello Friends, Donors and Volunteers:

This is our 4thin a series of Grassroots Newsletters by members of the Board of Directors.

It has been an exciting spring and summer!  It just seems that activity is peaking and we certainly hope and pray that a “home” for St. Gianna’s Place is on the near horizon.

As you can see on our website pages, we had set a goal of $200,000 in order to have sufficient startup capital to open a home.  We are three quarters of the way there, having made gigantic strides this summer. We have been blessed with grants and donations from many sources.  Our bank balance has increased over $60,000 since May.

As they did last year, the Derry and Londonderry Hannaford stores featured St. Gianna’s Place in their used book Community Outreach Kiosk program in June…and Londonderry has extended it into July.

We held the second annual Yard Sale on June 23 and in spite of the rain storm made well over $1000 thanks to the many donations and help of volunteers to run the event.

The most impressive fundraiser this summer has been the Baby Bottle Drive.  With only 3 churches participating we have made over $40,000 from the generous donations.  Additional churches are planned to hold similar drives in the fall.

Plans are well under way to hold the first ever “Baby Crawl” – a 5k walkathon scheduled for October 6. Press releases are going out and watch for information on our website and Facebook.  We are looking for participants and sponsors for this event to be held in Londonderry.

The Board has finished two key documents – the Resident Handbook and the Operations Manual; and completed the annual review of the By-Laws.  Effort is now being directed to forms and procedures for the operation of the home.  We are getting ready!

St. Gianna’s Place is also making a name in the community.  Our Board President Laura Gandia and co-founder Betty Breuder were included in an episode of The Gist, a program from Catholic TV out of Boston. That should be airing this fall – we will let you know when.  And Laura plus another co-founder Maria Szemplinski recently attended a breakfast meeting of the Londonderry Rotary Club to speak with them about St. Gianna’s Place.

And we are putting in place the resources to make the operation a success.  The Board approved and hired a part-time Operations Assistant to help with administrative details and event planning.  A job description has been prepared for an Executive Director. We plan to be ready when the real estate opportunity presents itself.

Please keep St. Gianna’s Place in your prayers…it’s going to be an exciting fall!

Sincerely,

Dennis Pedley, Secretary

 

 

April 1, 2018 

Happy Easter! Happy Spring!

Spring, the season when new life emerges from the ground is a great analogy for the growth and momentum at SGP. We are blossoming!

Right before Ash Wednesday we had our very first retreat. It was wonderful, grounding and a great preparation for Lent. Along with the celebration of Holy Mass, praying the rosary, we meditated on the Martha and Mary scriptural passage and were reminded that even though Martha’s way is important, Mary’s way is the better way. We came away renewed, refreshed and even more excited. Fr. Von from St. Patrick’s Church in Pelham agreed to be the spiritual director for SGP. He is a big blessing and gift to St. Gianna’s Place!

In January I was speaking with an executive director from a Manchester transitional home who asked me to please open SGP soon as her house reports a wait period of 3 to 6 months. I was saddened when she told me that in a 4 month period from October 2017 to January 2018 they had a total of 51 homeless women seeking housing, of which 1/3rd were pregnant. Out of these 51 women, 20 last reported sleeping in cars, outside, in tents or other places not meant for human habitation. If only we had a house!

Daily our board members search diligently for the right home for our moms and babies in the greater Derry/Londonderry area. We are considering renting because the market is so competitive and the need for opening SGP is so great. We still don’t have enough money to purchase a home, so we continue to find innovative ways to raise funds while forging ahead. 

Exciting Happenings..

Thank you to Salem Five Bank for supporting our mission and providing us with a generous grant.

Stay tuned! Catholic TV wants to interview us for their show the “Gist” which is a Catholic program for women. We will keep you posted.

A baby bottle drive in May/June is in the works. Several local churches are welcoming us and want to support our mission. We can use help with labeling bottles and delivering them if you are able.

Get Ready, Get Set, GO for St. Gianna’s Place first Walkathon for the fall! We are so excited about this because of its many benefits such as getting community involved, widening our base, reaching out to folks that may not know about us while raising funds and ultimately getting us closer to our goal of saving lives and keeping families intact! This will be a big fundraiser for us and we are in need of volunteers and sponsors. If you can help us in anyway- from handing out water, taking names and giving numbers, cheering on our participants, getting sponsors please call us or send us an email stgiannasplace@gmail.com. We would be most grateful.

We are also in the beginning stages of planning a very special surprise family centered Christmas event. Watch for upcoming details in the next few months. You’ll love it!

Please pray for St. Gianna’s Place, the moms and babies in need and for benefactors. We praise and thank God for this mission and we know where He guides, He provides. He always keeps His promises!

Thank you for journeying with us. You remain in our hearts and prayers.

In the Risen Christ,

Monica Rahilly, RN

Co-founder of St. Gianna’s Place

 

January 30, 2018

Hello visitors and supporters of St. Gianna’s Place:

It’s been a while since we last updated this report, but a great deal of activity has happened since the last report in July of last year. Hopefully, we’re now on a more regular schedule and will attempt to provide at least a quarterly update in the future.

Activities over the fall and Christmas season have been proceeding at a break neck pace. On October 28th, we held our first major funding raiser for the fall in the form of a spaghetti dinner at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Derry, which included both live and silent auctions. For our first attempt at this event, we were pleasantly surprised at the number of volunteers and attendees who made the evening a roaring success, both as a fellowship and fundraising event. Through very generous donations from sponsors and volunteers, we were able to generate about $10,000 towards our capital fund for the eventual establishment of a home.

NH Right to Life also generously supported our efforts by providing a matching gift campaign, and Eversource selected our organization for a $1000 grant as part of its focus on the health and well being of community youth.

The month of November was sent primarily setting the stage for a Christmas newsletter and donation campaign. Both of those activities were generally very successful in raising additional capital funds for the organization.

The Board is continuing to concentrate on establishing a draft timeline of scheduled or planned events for the next calendar year including additional fund raisers, and a schedule for the production of newsletters and grass roots updates. In addition, the Board has been exploring the possibility of obtaining additional resources through a grant proposal process and trying to research any potential organizations that might be able to assist us in our endeavors. We would greatly appreciate it if anyone who reads this update and knows someone with a background in this type of grant proposal process would contact one of the Board members with that person’s contact information.

Many people who have spoken to various board members or founders have asked us when we’re actually going to open a physical location and begin serving residents. At this time, we don’t have a definite answer. Several members of the Board have been actively involved in looking at potential property sites. Although the original idea was to accumulate sufficient capital to be able to purchase a suitable local property, the Board continues to explore other options including the possibility of starting off “small” and possibility renting property with an option to buy as an alternative to waiting until we have accumulated sufficient capital to purchase a property outright.

We continue to develop our volunteers list, and continue our work in pulling together the Operations Plan and Resident Guide which will be at the core of the life skills training and support extended to the pregnant moms.

Finally, the Board is planning a brief retreat to be conducted at St. Patrick’s Church in Pelham on February 10th.

The Board wishes to express its continued appreciation for all of the support and efforts of our volunteers in helping to make St. Gianna’s Place a reality in the near future.

Sincerely,

Andrew J Breuder, MD, Vice President
St. Gianna’s Place, Inc.

 

 

July 26, 2017

Hello visitors and supporters of St. Gianna’s Place,

It has been beautiful to witness the generous outpouring of support from many of you over the past few months. There have been numerous people raising their hands high in the air to support the mission of St. Gianna’s Place. People are asking “What can I do?” We see it time and time again. We have seen many contribute their old household goods to our yard sale which was held in Derry on June 24th. Contributions came from everywhere including the donation of the storage container from the generous folks at Fortin Modular Storage Co. I am very pleased to report that after typical yard sale expenses, we netted over $1,957. You should have seen all the crumpled dollar bills we amassed that Saturday morning and afternoon. Thank you to everyone who supported our yard sale and thank you, Dennis, for taking the proceeds to the bank!

The good word is spreading, thanks to many of you. We have many volunteers lining up now. For instance, we have a volunteer doing a great job managing our web page, and another volunteer taking on the very important day-to-day correspondence and administration. Volunteers are signing up and choosing how they can best serve the mothers and babies once we open our doors (there are many more roles to fill, so just touch base with any of us, or email us at stgiannasplace@gmail.com with the subject line of “Count me in” and we will put your time and talent offering on the list).

Also, a great many of you have contributed your hard earned dollars to help support our future pregnant mothers who, with your help, will literally bring new life into this world. We have received contributions of $2, $50, $100, $300, $2,000, $5,000, $10,000, and many other contribution amounts that I can only imagine have stretched your family budgets. At this time, we have received over 78 separate donations and one gift card, and this tally increases daily. What’s more, I am happy to let you know that some of you have contributed more than once. We are extremely grateful you have chosen to support this mission. This truly is a grass roots movement which will need ongoing support, and I am so excited to be joining you and being a part of God’s plan for these future mothers and children.

And the momentum is just starting to pick up. We look forward to different members of the St. Gianna’s Place team to periodically update you on our progress, which in fact is your progress. If anyone has any leads on a multi-bedroom house in the Londonderry area, please don’t hesitate to contact me or any one of us at St. Gianna’s Place.

We are busy pulling together the Operations Plan and Resident Guide which will be at the core of the life skills training and support extended to the pregnant moms.

Before I close, there is one thing we will need that I humbly ask of you. Your prayers are essential as we move forward with our mission.

Thank you for your time and support.

My fellow St. Gianna’s volunteers and I look forward to working with you to bring hope, joy, and a bright future, as well as a renewed sense of self-worth to pregnant mothers in need.

Sincerely,

Kevin C. Cronin, Treasurer
St. Gianna’s Place, Inc.