In 1948, Milwaukeean Marjory Wilmot learned about the National Christ Child Society on a trip to Detroit. With eight charter members, the Milwaukee Chapter was formed. Their first service project provided eleven layettes to needy children through the Milwaukee Catholic Social Welfare Bureau. Early service programs involved feeding babies in orphanages, helping children who were deaf, sewing clothes for children at Easter and First Holy Communion and planning recreational activities for them. Members held teas and organized rummage sales to raise funds. True to its mission, Christ Child Society members looked for needs and then filled them.

In addition to its usual projects, the chapter continued to be aware of ever-changing needs. During the 1970s, at the request of military servicemen, members collect clothing for the needy in Vietnam. Partnerships with Penfield Center, Ronald McDonald House, Hope Network and more followed in the 1980s as members expanded community outreach.

In the 1990s, the chapter received more community recognition than it had ever known when it collaborated with a local television affiliate to ship layettes to an area decimated by Hurricane Andrew. As involvement with 19 community organizations grew, the chapter found a location — the Merrick Center on north 66th Street — to house administration, a resale shop, layettes, and other chapter activities.

Today the Christ Child Society’s Milwaukee Chapter continues the rich tradition that began here more than 70 years ago. The Merrick Center is currently located at 4033 W. Good Hope Rd. We have over 200 members committed to helping children in the Greater Milwaukee area. We provide layettes for needy newborns, clothing and toiletries for children in crisis situations, tutoring and library services, grants to schools for unmet needs that help children, and children’s vision screenings. In addition, our Second Saturday Program provides educational, relaxing, and creative support along with a nutritious lunch for the mothers and the children that we serve. We are always looking to expand services to children to meet changing needs in our community.

Mary Virginia founded the Christ Child Society in 1887.

Her motto was “Nothing is ever too much to do for a child”. Early members made clothes for needy children, established a home for abandoned children, created a summer camp and developed classes for children with special needs.