July 05, 2019
The Maternity Care Coalition formed in 1980 as an advocacy group championing the health and well-being of pregnant women and their young families.
Those efforts continue to this day. But by the late 1980s, MCC had launched a home visiting program, dubbed MOMobile, to offer free support and education to families adjusting to pregnancy and parenting.
The nonprofit organization based in Philadelphia has assisted more than 100,000 families from Southeastern Pennsylvania, many of whom live in communities with high rates of poverty, infant mortality and health disparities.
Here's more about the organization:
Mission: While its focus is improving the lives of pregnant women and their families, it also seeks to enhance the school readiness of children ages three and under.
"We are very specifically focused on working with pregnant women and children from birth to three and their families," said Karen Pollock, vice president of programs and operations. "There is the introduction of a new member of the family, sometimes for the first time, if the parents are first-time parents. It's a very unique time."
The organization has about 75 community health staffers tasked with visiting the homes of pregnant women and young families. They establish relationships with the family, provide educational resources and guide them toward completing goals – anything from securing better housing, completing education or finding employment.
Additionally, the community health workers typically hail from the neighborhoods they are serving.
"They speak the language of the people in the community that we're serving," Pollock said. "They know the culture. They know the resources."
Impact: Every year, MCC serves from 4,500 to 5,000 families.
Between 1,500 and 1,700 of those families take part in the MOMobile program. But MCC also assists families through a variety of other services.
It runs a Cribs for Kids program designed to prevent sudden infant death syndrome and accidental deaths. Each year, about 2,300 families receive portable cribs, fitted sheets and blanket sleepers.
MCC also operates an Early Head Start program that includes a child care center in South Philadelphia and partnerships with providers in Norristown and Pottstown, both in Montgomery County.
Its Parenting Collaborative offers a group-based parenting education course aimed at reducing child abuse and maltreatment. Program staffers have expertise in serving various specialized populations, including incarcerated women, parents transitioning from drug treatment programs and families in shelters.
The coalition advocates for all women to have access to high-quality health care, early education and support. It also conducts maternal and child health research aimed at advancing its mission.
"We've been able to specialize," Pollock said. "That has allowed us to expand and build on the foundation of the MOMobile."
How to volunteer: MCC seeks volunteers willing to assist in a variety of ways.
Volunteers can raise financial support by hosting bake sales, car washes and other fundraisers. They also can sponsor drives to raise needed items, including diapers.
"Diapers are actually a challenging issue," Pollock said. "They're really expensive and there aren't public benefit programs that pay for them."
MCC also seeks volunteers willing to assist with administrative tasks, gather intake information for its Cribs for Kids program or provide childcare for meetings and training sessions.
Any volunteers who work with children must complete a clearance process.
To volunteer, or for additional information, click here.