More than 125 years ago, a young woman’s act of love for an unborn child started what became the National Christ Child Society. In 1884, learning of a mother who had no clothing for her expected child, Mary Virginia Merrick gathered a group of friends who sewed a layette. Their kindness sparked a program that quickly spread nationwide. In 1887, the group became The Christ Child Society and a charter member of the Catholic Charities, and the Community Chest, known later as the United Way.

Though inspired with the layette program, The Society established other programs as needs became apparent. Today some 45 chapters in 20 states, with over 5,500 members nationwide, are still united by the common cause, inspired by Mary Virginia Merrick’s motto: “Find a need and fill it.” Members volunteer in their communities through local chapters supported by a National Board of Directors and National office, which advise and support the individual chapters with annual conventions, conferences, speakers, workshops and leadership training, as well as newsletters and operating guidelines to help Chapters build membership and meet community needs.

Mary Virginia Merrick