By Starrla Cray
DELANO, MN For her ninth birthday, Mollie Lohmann of Delano didn’t ask for toys, clothes, or jewelry.
Instead, all she could think about was helping tiny babies through the Lullaby Ministry of Love In the Name of Christ (Love INC).
On her birthday party invitations, Mollie asked guests if they’d be willing to donate baby items in place of a gift.
“There are babies with no blankets, shoes, bottles, pacifiers, and everything that babies like and need,” Mollie said. “When I was a baby, I had more than that.”
Mollie’s tender heart and generous spirit overflowed to the 19 girls who attended her party Jan. 17.
“We brought a laundry basket, thinking that would be enough to carry everything back,” said Mollie’s mother, JoMarie Williamson.
It turned out that one laundry basket wasn’t nearly enough to contain the abundance of donations.
“People brought garbage bags full of things,” JoMarie said. “We filled the whole back of our van.”
The donations came at a time when the Lullaby Ministry needed them most, according to Love, INC’s volunteer coordinator, Lisa Green.
“The shelves of diapers were almost empty,” Green said. “They were wondering what in the world they were going to do.”
The Lullaby Ministry is run by Lyndale Lutheran Church in Maple Plain. It is one of the many ministries at Love, INC, an organization that unites churches in meeting needs throughout America.
Mollie first heard about the Lullaby Ministry through a trip her Girl Scout troop took in November to Love INC Heartland in Delano. The girls were told about various ministries, including the Lullaby Ministry.
“That’s the thing that stuck with her,” JoMarie said. “She talked about it a number of times. It made an impression on her.”
“I like babies the best, and I was very touched by that,” Mollie added.
When it came time to plan Mollie’s birthday party, JoMarie suggested the idea of donating to the Lullaby Ministry.
At first, Mollie wasn’t sure, but after giving it some thought, she jumped in wholeheartedly.
Mollie said her decision to give up presents for the year is one she would gladly make again.
“I hope I can do this every year until I stop having parties,” she said.
A giving party
For her birthday party this year, Mollie invited the girls from her third grade class at Delano Elementary School, as well as her Girl Scout Brownie Troop 13305, to spend the afternoon at the Tiger Activity Center.
The girls surprised Mollie and JoMarie with countless new and gently-used donations. Some were even gift-wrapped, so that Mollie would have something to open.
“It was really heartwarming to see how people opened their checkbooks and their hearts,” JoMarie said.
Mollie said she especially liked seeing items that she would have enjoyed as a baby.
“There was a beautiful pink gown,” she said. Other donations included pacifiers, a bouncy seat, snowsuits, outfits, and at least five packs of diapers, among other things.
The donations will benefit babies in nearby communities, Green said.
More about Love INC
Love INC Heartland partners with 22 area churches. People who are in need come to Love INC Heartland and fill out an application. Those who qualify are eligible to receive donated items.
“Church workers minister to people and show God’s love when they bring the items,” Green said.
Another Love INC ministry involves sending school supplies to those in need.
“I hope I can encourage my mom and dad to do that before school starts next year,” Mollie said.
Mollie and her family moved to Delano less than a year ago. Mollie grew up in Hanover, but moved to Arizona for a while because of JoMarie’s job at United Health Care. Mollie’s dad, Dennis Lohmann, works at Medica. His job brought them back to Minnesota.
The family attends Light of Christ Lutheran Church in Delano, one of Love INC’s partner churches.
To learn more about Love INC, go to www.loveinc.org. The web site for the local branch, Love INC Heartland, is www.loveincheartland.org. Anyone who would like to get involved or who knows someone in need can call (763) 972-6547.