Diocesan News

The Bridge to Life Gets A New Service Center; The Tablet Gets A First Look 

Cathy Donohoe (left), and Francesca Yellico show the layette room, where anything a mom might need for her baby can be found. Donohoe, who loves to crochet, made the baby blanket she is holding. Yellico is holding the bag of baby supplies each mom receives during a visit. (Photos: Paula Katinas)

COLLEGE POINT —  With a new, larger facility, The Bridge to Life will be able to bridge the gap between women struggling with unexpected pregnancies and the better lives they seek.

For 30 years, the pro-life organization has provided food, clothing, strollers, and medical referrals to women of all religions, as well as counseling and emotional support. Children get toys, books, and clothes.

The demand for their services has been growing by leaps and bounds in recent years but they were hampered by their cramped quarters in Flushing. Organization leaders have been searching for a new location for nearly three years.

Through a stroke of luck (and perhaps some divine intervention) earlier this year they found what they were looking for, in a former convent at 14-02 124th St. next door to St. Fidelis Church in College Point. The Diocese of Brooklyn, which owns the three-story, 18-room building, offered to lease it to The Bridge to Life. 

“It’s a dream come true,” said Cathy Donohoe, president of the organization’s board of directors, who led the move from their old headquarters to a new center in College Point a few months ago. 

An official grand opening is scheduled for Saturday, April 30, but The Tablet got a sneak peek of the new facility on April 19.

The entrance hall is warm and inviting, with a large bookcase filled with children’s books on one wall. On the opposite wall, a Tree of Life mural will be painted. The hall features all sorts of playful touches, like a doll perched on top of the bookcase next to a copy of “The Wizard of Oz.”

Just off the main entrance is the Reception Room, decorated in blue and featuring large photos of mothers and babies, as well as signs with positive messages like “Choose Kindness.” It is here that newcomers seeking help wait to be seen.

The building’s 18 rooms are already being put to good use. There is a layette room, where mothers can find onesies, pacifiers, diapers, baby wash, towels, and other items. Each mother who comes in is given a bag filled with infant care supplies, and can come back once every three months to replenish.

There is a toy room, a room stocked with children’s clothing to accommodate kids from infancy to age 12, and a women’s clothing room featuring coats, dresses, scarves, shoes, jewelry, and cosmetics.

Also on hand in a supply room are strollers, donated by JFK Airport chaplain Father Chris Piasta, that had been left behind by travelers who neglect to pick them up from the baggage claim area once they’ve landed.  

The counseling room, where pregnant women can receive one-on-one assistance, is decorated to make clients feel comfortable.

With the move, The Bridge to Life traded 2,500-square-feet of space for a building with 8,000-square-feet that will allow the group to expand its programs. 

There’s a big jump in rent — from $1,700 a month in the Flushing space to $3,800 a month for the College Point spot. However, the organization’s leaders said it’s worth every penny.

“This is so much bigger than our old place. We’ll be able to do so much more here,” said executive director Francesca Yellico.

“We’ve always wanted to offer nutrition classes, but we never had the room. Now we do,” she added. Those classes will be offered in a conference room on the second floor.

The Bridge to Life serves an estimated 4,000 clients a year,  “from all over, not just from the tri-state area,” Donohoe said.

Pamela Menera, a member of the board of directors, who often counsels clients, noted that all of the assistance is provided in a caring, non-judgemental atmosphere.

 “We offer help to women, not judgment,” Menera added.