August 6, 2018
|Co-director Laurie Bollig, left, visits with Mariah Pitts before Pitts received a diaper package from volunteer Emma Preciado, right, during a diaper day event hosted at the Loreto House in Denton, July 30, 2018. (NTC photo/Ben Torres)|
DENTON – When it comes to providing information about pregnancy, abortion, and options, advocates at pro-life pregnancy center Loreto House prefer a soft approach.
Soft as a baby’s diaper, in fact.
So it was a perfect pairing when Loreto House – which staff said employs “soft” evangelism – hosted its first Diaper Day on July 30 at the center at 1100 N. Bonnie Brae Street in Denton.
“It was pandemonium getting ready. But that’s a good thing,” said Randy Bollig, executive director of the charity.
Nearly 100 women came to the center for the day-long event, receiving diapers, baby wipes, food and other goodies, baby socks, prenatal vitamins, and more, including literature about social services in the Denton area.
Among them was Maria Herrera, whose niece found out about the event on the internet.
Herrera and husband Ivan, who works in concrete construction, were thrilled to learn about a Catholic resource for raising their five children — Alejandro, 8, Kevin, 6, Cassandra, 5, Christopher, 2, and Camilla, 11 months.
“I signed up for toddler classes and some others,” the Denton resident said.
Bollig said that is exactly what they had in mind — giving staff the opportunity to introduce their services to newcomers.
Laurie Bollig, founder of Loreto House, and husband Randy opened their doors 10 years ago. Although there are approximately 50 pregnancy and aid centers to help a woman with an unplanned pregnancy within the 28 counties of the diocese, only Mother and Unborn Baby Care in Fort Worth and Loreto House are Catholic.
However, you won’t find the word Catholic or even faith-based on their website, loretohouse.org — an intentional omission.
“A typical college girl may not be a person of faith,” Bollig said of the city that is home to two universities — the University of North Texas and Texas Woman’s University.
Named after the Holy House of Mary of Nazareth located in Loreto, Italy, the Blessed Mother guides Loreto House, Randy Bollig said.
“For the first eight years, we served about 300 people a year. We were rocking along,” the executive director said. “Today, we serve 3,000 people a year — a tenfold growth.
About 12 to 18 women seek help from Loreto House each weekday.
|Samantha Cutler holds her baby Abigail Cutler as they wait to receive a diaper package during a diaper day event hosted at the Loreto House in Denton, Monday morning July 30, 2018. (NTC photo/Ben Torres)|
In addition to free pregnancy testing, non-diagnostic ultrasounds, and counseling, Randy Bollig said staff offer expectant mothers emotional and mental support, guidance to community and government resources, education resources on-site, and prenatal and parenting classes, as well as maternity and baby clothes, formula, and other baby supplies at the center’s gift shop.
There are many rewards, such as when grateful mothers return to show off their newborn girls and boys.
“We’re saving a lot of babies,” said Randy Bollig, a member of St. John Paul II University Parish. “We’re also helping women get back on the career and spiritual path.”
Although Diaper Day brought new guests through the doors, it was also a day of happy reunions.
When Mariah Pitts first came to Loreto House, she was pregnant and had just lost her job.
“It was an emergency situation,” the Denton mom said.
Not only did the Loreto House staff help her get back on her feet, they even threw her a baby shower with gifts of baby clothes, a baby bed, and a bassinet.
“They were a really big help for me,” she said as her now three-year-old daughter Makiya clung tightly to her legs.
Diaper Day was good timing for the mother of two – second child Jaxon is 2 years old – because she is about to give birth to her third child she plans to name Braxton.
Although Pitts is not Catholic, Randy Bollig said their mission is to “serve people of all faiths.”
Laurie Bollig said she was humbled that their first Diaper Day was such a big hit.
“We are serving very sweet and very thankful and very grateful and very happy young girls,” she said. “Most are making appointments to come back for services.”
That’s good news and bad news — in a way. Even though Randy Bollig went to a local big box store two days earlier to buy an additional $2,000 worth of diapers, he said, “We will be out of diapers tomorrow.”
According to Troy Moore at the National Diaper Bank Network, no state or federal child safety-net program allocates dollars specifically for the purchase of disposable diapers, which cost $70-80 per month.
Bollig said that without the generosity of benefactors, Loreto House would probably have to close its doors. And they are always praying for additional support.
“This event has significantly stretched our resources,” the executive director said. “But that’s good. That’s what we’re here for.”
DENTON – When it comes to providing information about pregnancy, abortion, and options, advocates at pro-life pregnancy center Loreto House prefer a soft approach. Soft as a baby’s diaper, in fact.