Chapter History

  • 1912

    1912

    Christ Child Society of Detroit was founded in 1912 by a small group of women who followed the vision of Mary Virginia Merrick, our national founder, by dedicating themselves to meeting the educational, emotional, spiritual and material needs of poor and disadvantaged children throughout metropolitan Detroit.

    The Chapter’s earliest mission was to assemble and distribute layettes — small bundles of baby clothes and supplies to mothers-in-need. Times change and Christ Child Society of Detroit’s programming has evolved correspondingly, but our mission has remained the same — we are singularly dedicated to improving the well being of disadvantaged and at-risk children.

  • 1948-1958

    1948-1958

    In 1948, the Christ Child Society became aware of the lack of temporary emergency housing for children removed from a home in crisis, often facing parental unemployment or catastrophic illness.  Answering the challenge, the Society purchased, decorated and furnished a home on Pallister Avenue in Detroit’s New Center neighborhood that could house up to eleven children at one time.  In 1956, two acres of land on Joy Road, west of Greenfield, were acquired from Ford Motor Company and the Henry Ford family for a purchase price of $1.  The grey brick colonial farmhouse that today we call Christ Child House opened its doors to 18 children in May 1958.

The House has undergone numerous physical plant expansions since that date, however, the most significant change has been in the profile of the boys who call the House their home.  The definition of a “home in crisis” is worlds apart from that which served as the genesis of this program.

  • 2002

    2002

    Recognizing that literacy is so important in the struggle out of poverty and that it begins with the love of reading, in 2002, the Christ Child Society developed a Literacy Program designed to instill an excitement about books and reading. Program volunteers work with first and second grade students at Walt Whitman Elementary in Pontiac.  In recent years, the program expanded to include uniform donations and other supportive services.

  • 2004

    2004

    The Detroit Chapter’s Layette program was once housed in the basement of the Joy Road Christ Child House.  In 2004, the Board of Directors approved the purchase of the Layette House and moved the thriving program into a separate building located on Crooks Road in Clawson.

    The Detroit chapter has seen the Layette program grow from delivering eighty layettes a month in early 2000 to now dispensing more than 2,000 layettes to over 20 agencies in Oakland, Macomb, and Wayne County. Agencies receiving layettes are all registered with the state of Michigan.