Few things conjure up the image of infants more than baby bottles. A number of pro-life groups have discovered they make great fund-raising tools. The formula (pun fully intended) goes something like this — after a short talk or distribution of brochures, baby bottles are distributed to church or meeting attendees, and they are asked to fill them with spare change and return them in a few weeks with the proceeds going to a worthy pro-life cause.

Stella Maris Church in South Philadelphia is one of the parishes that did this in October. At last count, the returned bottles have yielded more than $2,500, according to Allesandro Oliveto, who chairs the pro-life committee for the parish. The money collected was donated to the Pro-Life Union of Southeastern Pennsylvania to support their programs in defense of life.

“This is our second year doing this,” Oliveto said. “I spoke at all the Masses and we passed out 350 bottles that were supplied to us by the Pro-Life Union. So far we’ve gotten more than 200 back. Some had just change; others had bills and change or just a check. We averaged $13 a bottle. We didn’t just give them out at Masses; we gave them to the CCD kids too.”


“Last year, when the bottles were distributed at just one Mass, $700 was raised,” Allesandro added.

“Absolutely, baby bottles put into perspective what we are doing,” said parishioner Nancy Palumbo, who helped to organize last year’s drive. “I love the idea and people do turn them back in.”

“This is mainly used by pregnancy centers and pro-life organizations to secure money to support pro-life efforts,” said Edel Finnegan, executive director of the Pro-Life Union of Southeastern Pennsylvania. “We’ve had about 30 parishes do this and it is always a great success.”

Other groups using the baby bottles to raise funds include Mothers’ Home in Darby and the Bucks County Community Women’s Center, she noted.

The bottles, Finnegan added, “are a constant reminder of the children whose lives are endangered by abortion. They send a positive pro-life message.”

Lou Baldwin is a member of St. Leo Parish and a freelance writer.