The Gabriel Project
Pemberton, Bardio and McComas
Regina Barido (center) receives an assistance grant from Putnam Rotary on behalf of Metro Valley Chapter of the Gabriel Project. Making the presentation are Marilyn Pemberton (left), Rotary Treasurer, and Tina McComas, local projects coordinator.

Help available for families
'in survival mode'

May 4, 2010

The Gabriel Project which began in Wheeling in 1997 now serves twenty-nine counties through six regional centers in the state.

The faith-based nonprofit offers assistance to moms and their babies who are "in survival mode," Regina Barido told Putnam Rotarians today.

"Most of our families are low-income, on food stamps or WIC. They don't plan ahead. They need it that day," says Barido.

"We fill in the gaps," she says. "(We supply) diapers, wipes, formula, cribs and car seats; If they make (only) $100 over the WIC income line, or they run short of formula; The mother who had her WIC coupons stolen with her diaper bag.

"The hospital would not let a mother leave without an infant car seat. She didn't have any money." The Project gave her a voucher for a seat which was installed by the police department."

Gabriel -- for the angel in Luke's gospel who told Mary she would be the mother of Jesus -- recruits church congregations of all faiths. The churches select volunteer "angels" who "watch over" the needy moms and their babies.

Referrals to Gabriel come from hospitals, from social workers, school teachers and others.

The Gabriel Project recently concluded its 4th annual crib drive with a total of twenty-five new cribs -- some donated, and some paid for by gifts.

Barido noted that the families served include moms who have been abused. "We serve teen moms and single moms," she said. "Now we have single fathers with babies, and (a growing number of) grandparents."

Regina got a call over two years ago. A baby had been delivered at twenty-six weeks. The child required intensive care, multiple surgeries and months in Cincinnati Children's Hospital. The Gabriel Project provided for needs beyond the means of the family, and two days ago for her efforts Regina was recognized by TV station WSAZ as a "Hometown Hero."

One church in Putnam County provides volunteer "angels" for the project, and only twenty families have been served. "I think," says Barido, "that people are not aware that help is available."

Rotarian Marilyn Pemberton, who introduced Barido to the group, learned about the Gabriel Project through the Family Resource Network, a coalition of social service agencies. FRN meets at 10:00 o'clock on the second Friday of each month at the Teays Valley Physical Therapy Center.

Further information may be obtained by contacting

Regina Barido, Coordinator
Metro Valley Chapter
Gabriel Project of WV
Post Office Box 11182
Charleston, WV 25339.

Phone: 414-4666 (414-4MOM)

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