By MARY ANN O’TOOLE HOLLEY
St. Charles— Hugh McVey, retired president of the Missouri AFL-CIO, walked back to his car with tears welling after helping Plumbers and Pipefitters 562 deliver donations to the Saint Louis Crisis Nursery-St. Charles on Thursday, Jan. 18.
“I don’t cry much, but that was something,” McVey said, shaking his head.
Local 562 Business Manager John O’Mara presented Crisis Nursery Communications Director Jane Beckman with a mountain of diaper donations in a collection effort dubbed “Wrap a Bottom.”
Now, because of the kindness of Local 562, there are diapers galore, enough to fill a room at the Nursery’s modest brick building in Old Town St. Charles.
O’Mara, in a surprise offering, also gave Beckman a check for $5,000, causing her to burst into tears.
The money, collected through member donations, will help the not-for-profit agency continue to harbor children from abuse and neglect through their emergency shelter. The shelter operates strictly on donations.
‘WE HELP OUR COMMUNITIES’
About 75 members, retirees, volunteers, office staff and officers from Local 562 joined in the delivery, unloading a caravan of trucks and car trunks stuffed with donations collected from job sites, union meetings and at the union hall during the month.
“We didn’t do this through a fundraiser. Our members step up every month to help a charity,” O’Mara said. “They do it because that’s one of the things our union members do. We help our communities.”
O’Mara said each month the membership makes suggestions on various not-for-profit organizations, meets to discuss options and selects the organization with the most need for monthly charity. The charity program has long been a priority for the union, O’Mara said.
Local 562 Staff Assistant Abby O’Mara then calls the organization selected to see what is needed most, organizes donations and deliveries each month. She says the extra work is all worthwhile.
“Everyone enjoys the deliveries,” O’Mara said. “It’s so nice to help those in the community, but it’s sad to see so many social service organizations struggling.”
NURSERY RELIES ON DONATIONS
Founded in 1986, the Saint Louis Crisis Nursery has become a cornerstone in the fight against child abuse and neglect with several locations throughout the metropolitan area, including the St. Charles Crisis Nursery located across from SSM St. Joseph’s Hospital in St. Charles.
As an independent agency, it is funded strictly by donations and volunteers. The Nursery provides short-term, emergency shelter for children, birth through age 12, whose families are faced with emergencies or who are in crisis.
Families may voluntarily bring their children to any of the Nursery sites for a variety of reasons, including:
• Overwhelming parental stress
• Parental or sibling illness or death
• Lack of utilities, food or shelter
• Domestic violence
• Other emergency situations which jeopardize the safety and well-being of the child and necessitate temporary parent-child separation.
WHAT CHILDREN RECEIVE
The average stay of a child is two to three days. During his or her stay at the Crisis Nursery, each child receives:
• 24-hour care by trained, loving staff and volunteers
• A medical exam to detect previously undiagnosed or untreated medical problems.
• A developmental exam for children six months to six years, to help to identify any developmental delays.
• Therapeutic activities for each child’s specific needs and situation to help children who are dealing with life-altering situations such as the death of a family member, homelessness, witnessing abuse/death, divorce, new sibling, etc.
• Art activities.
• Three balanced meals and three snacks a day.
IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW NEEDS HELP
The organization also has a 24-Hour Helpline at 314-768-3201 manned by trained professional to provide immediate access and resource referrals, literally saving lives when parents reach out for help.