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Mother’s Day rose sale canceled; effort provides support for pregnant women, young parents

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The annual Mother’s Day sale of red roses by Birthright of Wilmington has been canceled for this year.

The sale of vibrant red roses scheduled for Sunday, May 10 is a spring tradition at many churches in the diocese, not all of them Catholic churches. It benefits Birthright of Wilmington, which provides support for pregnant women and young parents, support ranging from diapers and wipes to books, car seats and help obtaining food stamps or financial support.

The sale brought in about $39,000 last spring, so it’s a big financial hit for an organization that can use every penny. It’s a decision, however, that leaders felt was needed with church services cancelled, social distancing in effect and everyone anxious over the health of friends and neighbors.

“It’s in God’s hands,” said Birthright of Wilmington Director Tinisha Brown.

“I think it was a good decision … We have to do what we can,” she said. “It was a tough decision, but I think I made the right decision in cancelling it.”

“I have decided, with the approval of the board, to cancel this year’s Mother’s Day Rose Sale because of the pandemic that is ravaging our country and the rest of the world,” she wrote to supporters. “It was very difficult to make this decision, but it was necessary because of the many hours of planning and preparation that are needed for the rose sale to be successful.”

“It is my sincere hope that churches and individuals will still be able to make a contribution or donate to Birthright in lieu of the rose sale so we can continue our mission and vision saving mothers and their precious babies,” she continued.

Bouquets of red roses await parishioners as they leave Mass on most Mother’s Days. They are bought for wives and mothers and more than a few forgetful fathers are grateful for the chance to buy them. Birthright buys and distributes thousands of roses each year.

It is one of two major Birthright fundraisers, together with the baby bottles parishioners take and fill with change each October and November.

Although it’s a financial hit, Brown said Birthright is actually pretty well stocked with supplies and the impact may be less than feared.

Brown said they recently received a large shipment of diapers, although they can use donations of hygiene items like baby wipes and powder as well as maternity clothes.

“We’re going to take a big hit  … but we’re well stocked. We have an overflow of items for babies,” she said.

She noted that with offices being closed, Birthright is saving money on utilities and similar expenses. “It’s going to balance out, I believe. My bookkeeper said we’re in pretty good shape.”

“We just help save babies,” she said. “We’re helping mommies and daddies. We see what they need. If we don’t have it, we can source it out. It’s all about the baby.”

That includes “pack ‘n’ play” safe sleeping needs provided by hospitals and a voucher arrangement for car seats with the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Because Birthright offers alternatives and help for unplanned pregnancies, Brown said the number of calls about abortion have dropped. “Abortion calls have slowed down a lot.”

“It is a joy. It makes my heart glad,” she said.

“Birthright began in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in 1968 when Louise Summerhill, a busy housewife and mother of seven children, felt something should be done to help women facing unplanned pregnancies,” according to the Birthright website.

Checks can be written to Birthright of Delaware. Please put your parish and roses in the memo section and mail checks to 1311 North Scott Street, Wilmington, DE 19806. The free and confidential Helpline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-550-4900.