Hurricane Harvey, a category four storm which dumped several feet of rain on a massive area of Southeast Texas as well as parts of Louisiana, impacted all aspects of society, from families to businesses to ministries. Among those affected are pregnancy help centers and maternity homes. But even amidst the tears and sorrow, there are some amazing stories of hope from within the pro-life community on the ground in the impacted flood area.
As the news coverage shows the overwhelming cleanup and recovery efforts, pro-life groups are reaching out in their communities to help others, despite being victims as well.
In North Houston, JoyHouse, which shelters pregnant women in crisis – including those who are victims of sex trafficking – is rebuilding after water ravaged their building.
Founder Eva Joy told Live Action News that she started the ministry in 2009 after experiencing an abortion at the age of 16. “If someone would have been there to help when I was 16, I may have chosen life for my child,” she said.
JoyHouse shelters both pregnant moms along with children. Eva says JoyHouse wants to “make it just as easy for women to choose life as it is to choose abortion.”
As Harvey bore down on Houston, Eva said the ministry was forced to relocate the women to the homes of many of their volunteers. When they returned, they found that the water had flooded most of their building’s first story. Despite these losses, Eva was full of joy as she spoke with Live Action News.
JoyHouse is one of many ministries that operate under Compassion United in the North Houston area. Luke Redus, CU’s founder, told Live Action News that his group regularly ministers to the homeless in the area and is continuing to reach out to the homeless since the hurricane.
“They lost their home so-to-speak, we are continuing to reach out to them,” he said.
Eva told Live Action News that in just the few days since they returned to find the flooded facility, several churches have pulled together to repair JoyHouse.
And, the outpouring of volunteers has been so immense that JoyHouse volunteers are now assisting other Hurricane victims in the area.
When Live Action News asked Eva how her home was, she said that because of the flooded roads, she has not been able to get home to see for herself but heard from neighbors that the damage is minimal.
The news site revealed that even though she was a flood victim herself, Phillips stepped up to assist additional victims.
“Once the nine pregnant women, as well as LifeHouse staff members—one of whom had to be rescued from a rooftop—were safe and sound, Phillips turned her attention to reaching out to expectant moms scattered throughout area shelters,” the site stated.
Phillips was able to reach out to several expectant mothers at a local shelter who had lost their homes and had nowhere to go. Pregnancy Help News reports that Phillips was able to immediately house one of the women in LifeHouse, and her team connected 10 more women to vital resources.
But, Phillips did not stop there.
She reached out to maternity homes in a 300-mile radius of Houston via email to see if any of those ministries could house women affected by Harvey.
“We’re definitely in the mode of mobilizing and equipping our staff and any volunteers who are able to help,” said Phillips.
Save the Storks shared that two out of three of The Source for Women centers are currently closed due to significant damage. In addition, they reported that many staff members and board members have lost their homes.
The non-profit provides pregnancy testing, ultrasounds, counseling, well women visits, STD/STI testing and treatment, and educational resources. Save the Storks also has a material assistance program that provides diapers, wipes, food, infant clothing, toys, and many other items for women in need.
On their Facebook page, The Source for Women described some of the damage:
Our Northeast location took in lots of water. We were there today and it was heartbreaking the food, diapers, wipes, clothes, baby shoes that had to be thrown away. We were in the process of remodeling and upgrading this center, there is no furniture left that could be saved, even the copy machine had water in the trays. Today an outpour of love from Northeast Houston Baptist Church came together and helped clear away everything and cut out the walls and floors.
Despite the destruction, the pro-life pregnancy ministry is thinking of others:
The Houston Pregnancy Help Center is located in the Fifth Ward and uses its mobile unit to offer free ultrasounds throughout the city. Their building sustained water damage during the storm.
Executive director Sylvia Johnson-Matthews told Pregnancy Help News that its primary purpose at the moment is to deliver needed material aid like diapers, wipes, and baby formula to area shelters.
In a normal week, pro-life pregnancy ministries assist many pregnant women facing a crisis. They also assist women who have small infants and children. But because of Harvey’s impact, those numbers will grow substantially, so it is imperative that they are up and running to continue to provide women the help they need.
Nationally, Heartbeat International has set up a website where people can donate to help centers afflicted by the catastrophe. The organization’s Helping Affiliated Life-affirming Organizations (HALO) program promises to “come alongside our friends who will struggle to rebuild in order to provide women with the compassionate support they need in order to choose life for their unborn children.”
On their website they added:
As the flood waters caused by Hurricane Harvey subside from Southern Texas in the following days, one thing is certain—women in those affected areas will still need the real support offered by the pregnancy help movement.
There is an estimated price tag of $40 billion attached to this natural disaster, and life-affirming organizations are by no means immune. Affected pregnancy help centers, maternity homes, non-profit adoption agencies, and abortion recovery programs will need prayer and financial support in the weeks and months to come.
Another national umbrella group for Pregnancy Resource Centers (PRC) is CareNet. Spokespersons were unavailable for comment to Live Action News due to the organization’s annual conference in Washington D.C., however, a picture posted on Texas Alliance for Life’s Facebook page displays a touching image of several dozen Pregnancy Resource Center directors from Texas praying for Houston and the surrounding areas devastated by Hurricane Harvey.
Unfortunately, loss is a part of life and Harvey’s impact in the nation will be felt for years. But for the ministries on the ground, they must get the help they need to be able to assist others. And social media has become a great place to coordinate help for affected pro-life ministries.
As Harvey flood victims begin to rebuild and take back their lives, pro-life pregnancy ministries become a vital resource to many of them. That is why the pro-life community and the media cannot lose interest in helping. As Kirk Walden, senior writer with Pregnancy Help News, stated:
When the TV trucks leave in a few days or weeks, pregnancy help centers throughout the devastated areas will try to piece things back together. Volunteer and paid staff members will be dealing with flood damage; much of it likely not covered by insurance. Some will be displaced.
Not to knock the media, but the excitement and drama will disappear. When victims are digging through the muck of mud-filled homes, we will only get a story every couple of weeks.
As the rest of the country goes on with life and business as usual, it is vital that the pro-life community continue to pray and support pregnancy ministries and their staff in the long road to recovery. Together we can make a difference show that all life is valuable.