The Columbus Chapter History
The Christ Child Society of Columbus Chapter has its roots in a chance conversation between Founding Members Kay Gibbons and Mary Ann Celebrezze in early 1981. With the blessing of Bishop Herrman and the help of Helen McDaniel of Catholic Social Services, the Dayton CCS Chapter and the National Christ Child Society, a group of 28 founding members included: Sheila Bettendorf, Nancy Bichimer, Mary Jane Brown, Patty Fastrish Carey, Mary Ann Celebresse, Ellyn Decker, Bevery Dop, Helene Fastrich, Chris Fisher, Adelaide Fox, Mary Gallahue, Marlene Genovese, Kay Gibbons, Mary Ginty, Johanna Haart, Alice Heller, Jeanne Herbert, Marilyn Kiep, Elaine Letizia, Pat McGurk, Sally O’Keefe, Edna Poletti, Mary Lou Shostek, Mary Lou Simeon, Ann Schwanekamp, Maureen Tehan, Fran Welsh, and Pat Schlass Wilson.
The Columbus Chapter received its charter at the national meeting in April, 1983. As with all Christ Child Chapters, our first service project in the community was to assemble and distribute layettes to area hospitals and service organizations to be given to needy babies. We currently pack more than 1,300 layettes each year in the basement of St. Timothy Parish rectory. Early service projects included transporting infants to foster homes for Catholic Social Services, babysitting and serving meals at Holy Rosary women’s shelter, Senior Bingo at St. Stephen’s and Seton Square, monthly birthday parties at Seton Square, and a playroom, playground, computer room and library at Holy Rosary women’s Shelter. The Clothes Closet served children providing new clothes and other items at St. Aloyius from 1984 to 2006.
CCS contributed to the outfitting and start-up of the Christ Child Daycare Center at St. Stephen’s Community House in 1991 and continues to support the Daycare program, staff development, a library corner and Starfish tuition assistance program. In 1993, CCS of Columbus placed funds in The Columbus Foundation and The Catholic Foundation with the goal of awarding scholarships to local Catholic High School students. Our first scholarship was awarded in 2000. Currently eight $3,000 scholarships are awarded to freshman, and each may re-apply for four years. CCS opened the Crib Club in 2008, providing material support of the young mothers attending maternity classes at the Women’s Care Center.
Our first fall fundraiser of CCS included a luncheon and style show held in St. Peter’s social hall (with a net profit of $800). Luncheons in the 80’s featured “bring your own cards”, mini-boutiques and raffles that evolved into our current Red Wagon Fare Boutique, Style Show and Luncheon held yearly on the third Wednesday of October. The first spring fundraiser was a western themed square dance held at Big Bear Farms. This soon became a Spring Celebration called “Celebrate Love”. Other fund raising is done by the research and grant writing committee. 2011 brought a new tradition of a “Baby Shower” for the babies served with layettes and Crib Club at Women’s Care Center. Our members and their friends continue to be generous participants at fund raising events, Angels, Layette Mother’s Day Fund Drive and Memorial Gifts. We have also been blessed with generous corporate support from the community.
The Christ Child Society has a strong spiritual component; we start each meeting with prayer. The Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Columbus is our spiritual advisor. Priest moderators have been Fr. Donald Franks, Fr. Kevin Kavanaugh, Fr. Thomas Schonebarger and Fr. David Sizemore. A memorial mass is held yearly to remember those members who have gone before us, especially in the current year. We hold an annual Day of Reflection attended by members and guests. Our year is celebrated at our annual Founders Day Mass and luncheon. This event includes the installation of new members by the Bishop. We also present a Community Service Award to someone who is not a member but has given great and continuing service to the needs of children in the community. Many of our members are Catholic, but we welcome members of all religions.