MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (WDVM) — Melani Haney is a student at St. Joseph School in Martinsburg. She just turned eight years old.
This year, for her birthday, she didn’t want just any gifts, she wants to give back to moms in need.
“It was so that other moms can take care of their babies,” said Melani.
Together, Melani and her mom, Tiffani, wanted to do something that would help do just that.
“Melani has plenty of toys. We’ve been blessed to be able to provide and she’s had birthdays and gets presents from family, so we talked to her before her birthday and asked her if she would be interested in sharing that generosity with other people who don’t have as many toys,” said Tiffani.
Tiffani says what motivated them happened to be the baby formula shortage and says she couldn’t imagine it happening to her.
“I was able to nurse for a few months, but things didn’t work out for as long as I had hoped. We relied very heavily on that and with that difficulty right now, I think that it’s important to give mothers all the tools that they need to be able to provide for their children,” said Tiffani.
Right across the street from St. Joseph School where Melani attends school, is Mary’s Refuge, a soon-to-be maternity home.
Kimberley Roche, the executive director of Mary’s Refuge, says this year they plan on serving at least 8 families.
“It means the world mostly because it’s from a child and also from the fact and its part of its still part of St. Joseph’s which was very critical. This is the first time that someone has had a birthday party for our women and given them things that they would not normally have, and it’s a wonderful thing to see,” said Roche.
If Roe vs. Wade gets overturned, she says they expect to see an increase in moms.
“We have a sister shelter in Virginia called Mary Shelter, and I’m in touch with them constantly. They have seen an influx of calls that are unbelievable. They opened the eighth house just within a couple of weeks and already they have a waiting list,” said Roche.
The maternity home is currently undergoing construction but they plan to open on September 8th.