Pregnancy center holding fundraising banquet

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Pregnancy Resource Center volunteer Coleen Pierce and executive director Janet Birkey talk Tuesday about how furniture in the clients room should be situated at the center’s new offices on Main and Seventh Streets.

Liliana Castillo

The Pregnancy Resource Center offers an array of services for free.

To do that, the center raises most of its operating costs through events such as the second annual Evening of Hope banquet slated for 7 p.m. Oct. 12 at the Clovis Civic Center.

Seats at the banquet are free, but donations are collected at the event. The 2009 event, attended by about 180 people, raised $48,000. Center Executive Director Janet Birkey said the center is hoping for $100,000 this year.

The jump in the fundraising goal is due to the fact that the center moved into their own offices this past year, expanding services and striving to provide medical services such as ultrasounds.

The program focuses on women and men dealing with an unplanned pregnancy, Birkey said. She said people dealing with an unplanned pregnancy often need financial or emotional support.

“Sometimes they aren’t ready, and we need to encourage them and tell them that they can be a good mom or dad,” she said.

Services provided by the center such as pregnancy tests, parenting programs, teen informational programs are free to anyone. New parents who go through the parenting program called “Earn While You Learn” earn Mommy Money or Daddy Dollars, which can be spent in the center’s Baby Boutique. The boutique stocks supplies needed for a new child.

“We are here to do anything we can do to partner with a woman to make her pregnancy a success,” Birkley said.

The center also provides services referrals. They help new parents set up appointments with Women, Infants and Children, Medicaid, sexually transmitted disease testing and adoption referrals. Moving to provide ultrasound testing is a way to provide women will all the facts before making a decision they may regret, Birkey said.

“There’s a good chance that if a woman is able to see the baby in their belly, they will change their mind and carry it to term,” Birkey said.

The program began in mid-2009 and was originally housed at Matt 25 Hope Center. Birkey said the new center, housed on the corner of Main and Seventh Streets, better serves the needs of their clients.

“It’s a better location, we can provide better confidentiality and are better able to offer medical services here,” she said.

Board President Cathy Blaschke said the move will mean a bigger budget for the center and the money raised will help them sustain that bigger budget.

Blaschke said she believes God placed the need for the center on the hearts of Clovis residents.

“Realizing there is a need out there for people in our community who need help who are in a crisis pregnancy who do not have a place to turn,” she said. “We have a high pregnancy rate here and no resources for them. This is something that needed to happen.”

Birkey said the center provides an opportunity for staff to minister to the people they help.

The banquet will include standup comedy by Mike Williams, an adoption story, dinner, a director’s address and an opportunity to give donations. Information about the ministry’s various aspects will be provided.