Kacie Forrest, co-founder of New Life Maternity which supports and empowers refugee women through pregnancy, birth, and postpartum, explains how she answered the question: can one day make a difference?
Two years ago, I signed up to help as a volunteer for a one-day event called Hands of Hope sponsored by Hope for San Diego. I felt a little cynical about it at first, thinking, what’s the point of “helping” for a day? What’s the impact? Where’s the relationship? The investment? Is it just to feel good about myself and then leave? Was it all going to amount to anything?
I entered that day with a conflicted heart. I was super pregnant and ended up meeting a woman named Zahra, who saw my belly and told me she had just found out she was pregnant too! She was a refugee from Somalia, new to San Diego, and had a special charm about her. We became friends.
One day she came over to my house and I immediately became aware of how much love had been poured out on me from my coworkers, friends, family, and church during my pregnancy. There were gifts everywhere! I could tell much of what I had were things she wanted for her baby too. I had even stockpiled a few things in the garage.
“If we don’t go in the garage,” I thought, “she won’t see how much I have.”
“If we go in the garage… She can pick out whatever she wants.”
We went in the garage.
That is when the garage shop idea was born.
We’ve made it full circle! Last month, Hands of Hope brought 16 people for a one-day project and completely outfitted it with a fresh coat of paint, custom shelving, and bins galore! There was A LOT of organizing to be done too. We had friends pitch in to watch the kids and a wonderful Congolese family came and brought homemade East African food for everyone to enjoy. This has changed our space completely and I can’t wait to see what’s next for our little shop and the people it serves. Thank you to everyone who volunteered and thank you Hope for San Diego, your one-day project has meant so much to us!
Kacie and her garage are now welcoming not only individual women, but groups of refugees from resettlement agencies. If you would like to befriend a pregnant woman or donate baby supplies to support New Life Maternity, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.