Some charitable organizations endure. When I saw this article, I thought of Porter-Leath in Memphis but the outcome for my grandmother (losing her infant, for which she was only seeking temporary care until she could get on her feet) was not so good.
St. Anne’s Center for Children, Youth and Families in Hyattsville Maryland has existed for 160 years. They were originally an orphanage and a maternity hospital. The organization founded during a crisis has reinvented itself time and again since. The same could be said for Porter Leath as well.
The organization was created in 1860 to serve women and children during the Civil War and it continued to do so through the 1918 flu pandemic, both World Wars, the Great Depression and now, a new pandemic.
Over the years, it has changed its name and purpose. It went from “asylum” to an “orphanage” to a “center” that now houses mothers and children, sometimes for years, if that’s what they need to successfully escape homelessness.
In recent times, they have seen incredible successes like they had not seen before in terms of families leaving them and going into permanent housing. It’s nothing short of incredible how these families are doing that.
When a single mother with a young child comes to St. Anne’s, she and her daughter are given a furnished apartment complete with a bookshelf filled with children’s books. They share a kitchen, laundry room and playground with other families, but otherwise have their own space.
One such mother said –
“I used to say, ‘I don’t want her to remember any of this stuff,’ ” she says of her daughter. “Now, I want her to see where we were, and how we are in a much more amazing place. I want her to see, ‘My mommy did it, my mommy figured it out, she took care of what we had to take care of.’ ”
When they move into their new house, she says, she wants her daughter to know that from these hard times, her mom created something better for them.