What began as a diaper drive for Aspire Together, a Williston pregnancy resource center, for October, Respect Life Month, gave birth to an additional collection drive for the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants Vermont in Colchester.

Phyllis Harkonen, respect life coordinator for the Diocese of Burlington, spearheaded the collection. “The Holy Spirit was at work one day: Melodie Bean started a cascade effect of love in beautiful South Burlington on Joy Drive when she contacted the Diocese to donate some baby furniture, toys and a balance bike. Her donations dove-tailed perfectly with our diaper drive,” she said.

Among the donors was Chrissy Holmes, a professional chef and caterer, who was looking to find homes for her extensive collection of culinary utensils and kitchen items.

“At the very heart of our faith is a respect and value for every life, from the unborn to those at the end of their lives and every stage in between, regardless of the circumstance,” Harkonen said. “Respect Life ministries seeks to love, value and support every life. Everyone deserves to be treated with gentility, care and respect. There is a lot of suffering and pain out there. This is a way to show our support and unity for these good programs and the vital work they provide.”

The collection continues through October.

As of mid-October, an in-house drive at the Bishop Brady Center in South Burlington garnered from employees: 1,065 diapers, 2,424 baby wipes, $77 in monetary donations, a highchair, balance bike, baby car seat, books, toys and a baby gate.

Suggested donations include diapers and baby wipes for the pregnancy center and preferably new towels, bed linens, bathroom items, kitchen items and other furnishings (but used items might be accepted if they are clean and in very good condition) for USCRI.

Checks are also being accepted. Make them out to Aspire Together or USCRI (or U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants) and send them to Respect Life Ministries, Diocese of Burlington, 55 Joy Drive, South Burlington VT 05403.