August 6, 2009 at 8:09 a.m.

Youth assemble midwife kits at CL Lutheran Church

Youth assemble midwife kits at CL Lutheran Church
Youth assemble midwife kits at CL Lutheran Church

Several years ago, the Women of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (WELCA) started assembling midwife kits, to help pregnant women in Africa and other impoverished countries safely give birth.

Chisago Lake Lutheran Church WELCA members organized their first midwife kit drive and in the first year, sent off 100 kits.

The program has grown to more than 1,000 kits assembled, packed and driven to Global Health in Fridley each year from CL Lutheran Church.

The kits are packed two or three times a year. The kits include" a 36" square piece of fabric, a receiving blanket, baby t-shirt and hat, wash rag, bath towel, two cords for tying off the umbilical cord, razor blade, two latex or rubber gloves and Ivory soap. Items are packaged in large zip-top plastic bags.

When the kits are packaged up, they are transported to Global Health, where the kits then go to places around the world, but primarily to Africa.

WELCA member Vida Meland said the kits are made possible through donations of money and supplies, as well as a budget set aside by WELCA members. Since the project in ongoing, the church accepts donations for the midwife kits year-round.

"A lot of people will pick the supplies up at garage sales," Meland said.

The towels, wash rags and fabric don't have to be new, just in good condition, she said. Most of the fabric squares are torn-up bedsheets, for instance.

The group has made two deliveries to Global Health so far this year, and will hold another packing day in November. Meland said the 1,000 kits from CLLC are enough to supply one African hospital for a year.

For more information on the midwife kit program, call the church, 257-6300.

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