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Miriam Centre: 30 years of love, compassion, and support

Nestled in a basement unit on St. Joseph Boulevard, Miriam Centre has, for over 30 years, been providing love, compassion, and support to any person or family dealing with issues related to pregnancy and babies.

They are part of a vanguard of community organizations that have embraced a non-judgmental approach to that very natural part of life: pregnancy. They recognize that a healthy community is comprised of healthy individuals and this begins with parents and the newest members of society that are placed in their care: babies. They know that when caregivers are supported – in both emotional and practical ways – our society benefits for generations to come.

Miriam Centre is welcoming to anyone who is pregnant and/or has young children and needs support. Their services, always free of charge, are completely confidential and can be provided in English and French. Women, men, and families of all backgrounds come to seek emotional guidance, reassurance, and support which they receive from trained staff and volunteers. They also receive practical help in the form of maternity wear, clothing for newborns and children up to the age of four, and baby food.

Founded by a group of concerned residents in 1988, Miriam Centre is now operated by three staff, a board of Directors and a dedicated group of volunteers.  

They are so grateful to the residents of Orleans for their incredible support and generosity over the past 30 years. They feel blessed to have the opportunity to help families in Orleans and the surrounding area in these very real and tangible ways.

Miriam Centre supports many different women and their families. They are sometimes on social assistance or may be part of what is termed the “working poor”. Or, they may be economically stable, but come from abusive situations. In still other cases, they have had a string of difficulties and now find they are pregnant. Miriam Centre is there for them.

One woman who recently had a miscarriage was pregnant again before she had finished mourning her child. At Miriam Centre, she found the support she needed to grieve and prepare herself for the birth of her infant.

In another case, a new father came to Miriam Centre as his wife was ill and recovering from surgery. He was now the caregiver for their child and, while caring for his wife as well, had to learn many new skills on his own. When he turned to Miriam Centre, they were able to provide the emotional support and practical guidance he sorely needed.

This is a time of year when many people reflect on how they can “give back” to the community they live in. Miriam Centre has a number of ongoing, high-priority needs that may be of interest:

–       Donations: Miriam Centre does not receive any government funding and they require financial donations to pay bills and keep the Centre open. As a registered charity, they can provide donors with a receipt for tax deduction purposes.

–       Food: They welcome any donations of baby formula, especially in powdered form as many parents travel by bus and powdered is easier to transport than liquid; They also welcome donations of baby food, especially cereal.

–       Clothing: Miriam Centre requests that, out of respect to the many volunteers who work there and to the people who will wear them, that all donations of clothing – maternity, newborn, and for children up to four years of age – be gently used and clean. They especially need winter coats for pregnant women and snow suits for babies.

–       Toys: Due to safety and hygiene issues they can accept only small toys but not car seats or cribs.

With their inspiring mandate, record of success, and practical activities, Miriam Centre is a beacon of hope for many in our community. Each year they help hundreds of women, men, and children in so many ways. If you would like to find out more about them, please visit their website at www.miriamcentre.ca. But, be forewarned: make sure to have a tissue at the ready. Many of their heartwarming stories may bring a tear to your eye.