Pregnancy Resource Center moves to bigger quarters
By Karen Hall
Lewisburg's In His Image Pregnancy Resource Center more than doubled its square footage Wednesday, when it moved into new quarters at the corner of West Commerce Street and 3rd Avenue North.
Volunteers were seeing clients until 4 p.m. Wednesday afternoon in the old location, said Executive Director Shirley Lowe, and were seeing them at 9 a.m. Thursday morning in the new location.
"It will not be the ideal situation," admitted Lowe.
"We didn't want any downtime," added her daughter Lisa Laster, who was supervising moving into the new location, which until a few weeks ago housed the Potters House church.
"We should not have to move again for quite a while," said Laster. "This is a great location. There will be more privacy here." The building was a doctor's office before it was a church, so it has many small exam rooms which are ideal for counseling sessions.
There will also be room for the PRC's newest acquisitions: an ultrasound machine and an examination table. Both were gifts from PRCs which were upgrading.
"I never turn down anything," laughed Lowe.
She has two nurses who have volunteered to be trained in operating the ultrasound, so now all that's lacking is the funding to send them to school.
Being able to give free ultrasounds will be great, but more important, Lowe says, is the fact that 87 percent of women choose to keep their baby after seeing its image on ultrasound.
The Men's and Youth Groups from Mt. Moriah Baptist Church moved the PRC from its home on Martin Street to the building on East Commerce in 2010, and they stepped in again to move "three times as much stuff" this week, Lowe said.
"They have both muscles and kindness of heart," she added.
To prepare the new place, members of the First National Bank's Student Advisory Board and the Cosmolab Crusaders painted and painted, Lowe said, using paint donated by Marshall County Solid Waste Director Morgan Thomas. The only paint the PRC had to pay for was white paint for the trim. Volunteers and board members pitched in to help get everything packed up.
"We've been getting remarkable help," Lowe said.
In 2012, about 30 volunteers logged 2,997 hours and 50 minutes of time at the PRC, helping mothers and babies. Sixty new clients made almost 500 visits to the center, and 20 babies were born.
In addition to counseling women with crisis pregnancies, the PRC provides parenting classes, prenatal classes, and abstinence education for 7th and 8th graders in Marshall County Schools.
"No one pays for anything," said Lowe. "We try to be there for everyone, and so far it's worked."
The women earn points for classes and counseling sessions they attend, and the points can be spent in the Baby Boutique. A baby bed, for instance, costs 225 points, while a pack of diapers is 10 points. Maternity clothes and baby formula are given away free.
The Pregnancy Resource Center exists because of the generosity of individuals, churches, businesses, and clubs who make material and financial donations, Lowe said.
"I love what we do here," she said. "It definitely serves a purpose for the community."
Their big fund raisers are the baby bottle campaign and the benefit dinner. For the baby bottle campaign this year, empty baby bottles were given out to 30 local churches on Mothers Day, and collected -- full of coins, bills, and checks -- on Fathers Day. This raised over $9,000. The benefit dinner will be held at the Rec Center on Oct. 15.
"Things work out the way God wants them to work out," Lowe said. "God is good to us."
The PRC is faith based, non-political, non-denominational 501(c)(3) organization. It is part of CareNet, which has about 1,300 pregnancy resource centers in the United States and Canada. The PRC is governed by a Board of Directors, with Lowe as the only paid employee.
"We have wonderful board members," she said. "They make a three-year commitment."
Lowe also has a successful career in Real Estate.
"How can a person have two jobs and love both of them?" she asks, admitting that she does love both jobs, though sometimes it's a "balancing act" to keep both going at the same time.