Gianna's House Wants to Go Mobile

| 02/23/2024

By: Steven Schwankert

As the pregnancy resource center approaches its first anniversary, a traveling unit is on its wish list

The baby boutique at Gianna's House offers participating mothers the opportunity to choose clothing and other needs for their children up to age two.
The baby boutique at Gianna's House offers participating mothers the opportunity to choose clothing and other needs for their children up to age two. Photo by Steven Schwankert/The Good Newsroom

A clean, white house on Main Street in Brewster is providing hope — and life — to women in need. 

Named for the patron saint of unborn children, St. Gianna Beretta Molla, pregnancy resource center Gianna’s House helps women who find themselves unexpectedly pregnant to choose life and find support in the early stages of motherhood.

The new center opened on May 16, 2023, the 19th anniversary of the canonization of St. Gianna, as an initiative of the parishes of St. Lawrence O’Toole and Sacred Heart in Brewster to offer services, including pregnancy tests, counseling, and baby supplies such as diapers and baby wipes. It also refers women for ultrasounds to a nearby pro-life doctor’s office.

To date, it has assisted 28 families, with about 30 more leads, according to Julie Noce, Gianna House’s executive director. Pregnant mothers, especially those who are unmarried or managing unexpected pregnancies, find themselves facing material or financial needs, requiring legal assistance, or a food pantry, Noce said.

Gianna’s House grew out of earlier ministries in the area that had served unhoused residents, some of whom were pregnant. Gianna’s House does not offer or assist with any abortion services or related referrals. “The Sisters of Life had been praying for this,” Noce said.

Occupying the ground floor, the “house” has a counseling area, space for self-administered pregnancy tests, and a “baby boutique,” which allows participating mothers to select items of clothing, supplies, toys, and books once per month.

Gianna’s House does not provide shelter services but works with Good Counsel to place unhoused mothers and their children. Other services include separate counseling groups for mothers and fathers, along with breastfeeding classes.

“We were so happy about the overturning of Roe v. Wade. The deeper issue is changing hearts and minds,” said Father Richard Gill, pastor of St. Lawrence O’Toole and Sacred Heart. “It’s about caring for women in troubled pregnancies. To make it possible for them to say yes to life,” Father Gill said.

With Gianna’s House approaching its first anniversary, the organization has set its sights on its next goal: a mobile ultrasound unit that can serve Dutchess, Putnam, and Westchester counties, and even parts of the Bronx. It would be the first of its kind in the Archdiocese of New York. The organization is looking to raise the purchase and outfitting price of $280,000. Being able to go where pregnant women of limited means may require services such as testing, and ultrasounds would help Gianna’s House demonstrate the full range of support available to the mothers and help them to choose life.

An ultrasound, or sonogram, is used to see an image of a baby growing in the mother’s womb. It allows a pediatrician or ultrasound technician to monitor a baby’s health and development.

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