Pregnancy Resource Centers or Crisis Pregnancy Centers are amazing. I know that firsthand because I work at one. These pro-life, non-profit organizations are safe places for women to receive information on child development, speak with supportive people and get resources they need for their families.
CareNet is one network that has over 1,000 pregnancy centers across the United States. Time magazine referred to pregnancy centers as the ‘kind, calm, non-judgmental’ face of the pro-life movement. Pregnancy Centers receive most of their resources through the generous donations of others. Here are some simple, helpful ways you can support a center in your city.
1. Volunteer: Volunteers are the heart of a Pregnancy Resource Center. Centers look for volunteers to donate their time to answer phones, sort through baby clothes, tidy up the center and meet with clients. Centers offer training classes and give instruction to those volunteers who want to counsel women but are unfamiliar with the process. If you’re retired, a student or have a flexible schedule I encourage you to volunteer a few hours a week at a center in your city. Volunteers with a nursing or medical background are especially valuable in centers with ultrasound machines or free std testings.
2. Throw a Baby Shower: Pregnant women love baby showers. They get cute outfits, ooh and ahh over little shoes, eat finger foods and take cute pics of bottle and pacifier shaped plastic decorations. Low income moms and teenage moms with unplanned pregnancies aren’t always able to afford showers. If they do receive gifts they may not get the exact items they need. Expensive gifts like cribs, strollers, high chairs and car seats are in high demand. Gather a group of friends, church or family members and throw a shower for a pregnant mom. You can talk to a Pregnancy Center and ask to host a shower for a specific woman or just have a shower and distribute the gifts to various women in the center.
3. Have a formula or diaper drive: Diapers are the most requested item at the Pregnancy Resource Center in my city. Women call in for diapers on a weekly basis. A package of diapers and a container of formula can go for around $20 or more. Our local center received a generous donation of formula from college law students who gathered it on campus during the government shutdown. Days after receiving their donation a mom came in desperate for formula. We had exactly what she needed which caused her to breath a sigh of relief.
4. Spreed cheer with holiday gifts: Thanksgiving and Christmas are soon approaching. Most of us get excited thinking about the dishes we’ll prepare on Thanksgiving, the decorations we’ll put up for Christmas and the gifts that will surround our trees. For low income families with multiple children the holidays can be a great source of anxiety. If you have children you can talk with them about the real meaning of the holiday season and how important it is to give to others. As a family you can buy a toy or get a turkey and donate it to a family at a Pregnancy Resource Center. My church is getting ready to collect food for thanksgiving baskets, some of which will go to the needy families at our local center.
5. Be a translator – Do you speak Spanish, French, or Portuguese? If you speak a language besides English you could be a great help to a Pregnancy Center. Most centers have resources and information that’s available in multiple languages. Although they have those materials, they may not have bilingual volunteers who can answer phones, pray for women or talk to families. I know from personal experience how frustrating it is to have women call into the center asking for help and a language barrier prevents them from getting information.
6. Fund raise through baby bottle campaigns or walks: Centers can always use financial donations. A check in the mail is a blessing every center will appreciate. Along with writing checks, you can raise funds for centers in creative ways. Gather empty baby bottles, distribute them to your friends and tell them to put their spare change in them. After a few months bring the bottles back to the center. The coins collected can be used to purchase diapers or baby food. Have a walk for your local center or sell cookies and let the proceeds go to buying baby clothes. I know a 11yr old girl who sold bracelets and lemonade to buy diapers for our local PRC.
7. Offer your unique skills – Are you a photographer, hair stylist, nail tech, makeup artist, or chef? If so you can offer your gifts and talents to help moms and families. Imagine how special a family would feel if they had a free photo taken and developed for them. If your an amazing hair stylist you could offer to give out a few hair cuts to the fathers and mothers that visit the center. These gifts can make all the difference, causing stressed out moms and dads to feel pampered, valued and loved. If your a massage therapist, a 15 minute session would be a gift most moms would greatly appreciate.
8. Help with Post abortive classes – Many centers offer classes for women and sometimes men who’ve suffered from abortion. Some centers will use books like the ‘Forgiven & Set Free‘ bible study. Have you gone through an abortion, dealt with the pain of it and received healing over the years? Your story, prayers, and presence in a class would be a great help to others.
9. Empty your closets – Pregnancy centers take new and gently used clothes. Most centers take womens and maternity clothes as well as baby clothes. Are you holding on to your expensive maternity pants in case you have another kid? Consider donating them to a mom who could use them now.
10. Pray – Pregnancy centers are safe places for hurting people. Women and men come in who are dealing with crisis situations. Some are anxious, others are angry, some are even depressed. They’re looking for hope. They don’t know how they’ll get through their circumstances and often ask for prayer. The staff workers and volunteers at centers also need prayer. They give their time and energy to helping others. Pray for them to be refreshed and ask God to help them as they help others.
Those are just a few of the ways you can help a center. Can you think of more creative ways to offer support? No matter what you chose to do, do something. Visit the Option Line website to locate a Pregnancy Resource Center near you.