Christ Child Society of the Quad Cities empowers families


By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger

The Christ Child Society of the Quad Cities strives to empower families, treat all with dignity, provide services to area agencies, support new mothers and children and engage in the mission of the Christ Child. Lisa Levy, the society’s president and a member of Our Lady of the River Parish in LeClaire, welcomes all to join the “small but mighty” organization.

Mary Virginia Merrick founded Christ Child Society in 1887 in the Washington, D.C., area, with a vision to make the world a place of beauty and love again. Her work distributing layettes and Christmas letters began a few years earlier. Over the decades, chapters formed throughout the United States, including the Quad-City area in 2005, which is one of nearly 50 chapters.

Levy said the local board has 12 members who meet monthly and around 30 members overall. The local chapter’s main efforts are distribution of layettes, support of literacy programs for young children and supplying clothing and other essentials, such as infant car seats, among other initiatives. Receiving layettes are the Women’s Choice Center (WCC) in Bettendorf, Child Abuse Council of the Quad Cities and Genesis Health Systems and UnityPoint Health.


The mini layettes include a small package of “take me home” clothing sets presented to women who receive a positive pregnancy test at the WCC. The larger layettes include basic supplies such as a small board book, diapers, wipes, blankets, booties or socks, onesies and towels. The layettes go to women in need receiving services at the WCC, Child Abuse Council and both health care centers. Christ Child Society donates a car seat to each mother who completes birthing classes at the WCC.

Christ Child Society also supports the Genesis East Bereavement Suite in Davenport. The group delivers prayer shawls and bathrobes for moms, grief books, preemie clothing, sheets and prayers for moms who have lost an unborn baby to miscarriage or stillbirth or who have had a premature delivery after which the baby died. “We help create a moment to honor families at a difficult time,” Levy said. The group also provides a memory-making kit to make a fingerprint, add a swatch of hair and pictures for the family to remember “their little one who has died so early.” The mothers also receive a shawl with a note stating that the Christ Child Society members are praying for them. The note includes a verse from Psalm 139:13, “For you created my inmost being: you knit me together in my mother’s womb.”

Christ Child Society has an agreement with Rock Island/Milan, Illinois, Head Start program to provide children’s books. The society sets up a booth at school events and provides needed supplies (such as coats, boots and other items) for families. “Literacy is the foundation of education. It is so important to promote literacy, especially for toddlers and preschoolers,” Levy said.

Membership dues, parish baby bottle drives, grants, memorials and donations support Christ Child Society’s efforts, along with material items, such as diapers and clothing. Most members are from the Illinois Quad Cities but Levy encourages Catholics from the Diocese of Davenport to get involved. “This is a unique opportunity to spread the work of Christ Child.”
For more information or to make a donation contact Christ Child Society at

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