Staff Writer

ASHTABULA - - Nine-year-old Paige Maunus received a lot of birthday gifts this year: baby bottles, diapers, wipes, booties, bibs and a variety of infant clothes.

Paige wasn't surprised.

She had asked her friends to bring gifts for newborn babies to donate to Birthcare of Ashtabula, a free, counseling-coordinating service for pregnant women.

"I wanted to donate gifts for new babies who don't have stuff," Paige said. "It just sort of popped in my head."

Paige's grandmother, Randie Hendrickson of Geneva, said Paige got the idea at her school - - St. Mary's School in Painesville. The eighth-graders collected hats and mittens for needy children.

"She wanted to do something for babies," Hendrickson said.

Paige, the daughter of Marie and Brian Maunus of Geneva, hosted her 9th birthday party Dec. 9 at Chuckie Cheese in Mentor. More than 20 children attended; all bringing baby gifts.

Birthcare counselor Jennifer Leonard and volunteer Kay Clavadetscher, both of Ashtabula, were delighted with the donation.

Leonard said she hopes more people will remember Birthcare this holiday season.

Birthcare is an emergency pregnancy center in Ashtabula, which began in the late 1970s, and has helped thousands of women ever since.

The volunteers are there to help, coordinating efforts with other agencies. They offer free pregnancy testing, a place to live without cost, an understanding physician, help with medical bills, maternity and baby clothes and furniture.

Birthcare is located on the second floor of the Lewis Building, next to Ashtabula County Medical Center's emergency room. For more information, call (440) 998-1109.

Star Beacon Print Edition: 12/24/2006

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