A prayer was answered for a pregnancy aid center when Minden’s Junior Service League raised roughly $12,000 after the center lost a good portion of its funding.
The Northwest Louisiana Pregnancy Care Center in Minden is a nonprofit organization which helps young pregnant women get the help and services they need for themselves and their babies. Lisa Gould, director, said their funding for this year was “critically low,” because the funding promised was cut by $15,000.
“This has definitely been a blessing,” Gould said. “We had been praying on how we could make up this money we lost.”
Mandi Hart, a Junior Service League board member, said many people didn’t know about this particular pregnancy center, and when Gould spoke to doctors at Minden Medical Center recently, she felt this was the organization that needed the most help.
“We have so many people who need help,” Hart said. “She has so many services they offer – and doing it on such a limited budget. It’s something that’s close to my heart, because I see so many of these girls who come in with nowhere to go.”
Hart is the nurse manager for the Labor and Delivery unit at Minden Medical Center and has three-year-old triplets Maddox, Mason and Harleigh. Between her hectic but rewarding job at the hospital and three children who keep her busy, she found the time to put the Glow Minden Glow 5K run together. She does not take any of the credit, however.
“I had a great team to help me,” she said. “I really wanted to do something fun.”
Hart also extended a special thanks to her husband Donny, who, “without him, I couldn’t have done any of this.”
The Glow Minden Glow 5K run took place Saturday, October 11, and this year’s event was bigger than it has ever been.
“I just thought it could be so much bigger,” Hart said. “I had gone to the glow run in Monroe and the response there was tremendous.”
Ideas began forming and coming to fruition, and without spending much money, the Junior Service League put together the 5k run. Junior Service League President Elizabeth Phillips said the 5k run, which typically raises $2,000 to $4,000 each year, is done to raise money for various charities. This year’s event drew in roughly $12,000.
Gould said she was amazed at the sheer number of people who came out for the night run.
“I was overwhelmed, because I didn’t think it would be this big,” she said. “I nearly passed out when I heard the amount, and I was just amazed. It just shows the generosity of these ladies who just wanted to help.”
The Northwest Louisiana Pregnancy Care Center opened its doors roughly two years ago, and has been partly funded through a federal grant funneled through the state’s Department of Family and Children Services. The grant was supposed to be released to them for three years, but they got a notice informing them they’d been cut, Gould said.
“When we got that notice, it was just devastating,” she said. “That money has dwindled from what we were normally seeing.”
The Pregnancy Care Center relies on state funding, but as a nonprofit, it also relies on the generous donations of the community. It offers services such as free pregnancy testing and parenting classes, where volunteers come in at any given time to teach. The NWPCC is also networked with other agencies throughout the state to offer many services to young women. Other services offered include abortion education, sexually transmitted diseases and sexual health education, physician referrals, post-abortion counseling and recovery classes and adoption resources and referrals.
Over the last two years, Gould said, at least 170 “return” clients have been seen for pregnancy testing and parenting classes. The center is open Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.
The Minden Junior Service League is a nonprofit organization that conducts many fundraisers throughout the year and sponsors other activities. It was founded in 1931 and it touts 40 members. Other community service outreach activities include the chicken spaghetti supper, the Treeby Miller Scholarship, which is awarded to an outstanding high school senior, the Angel Tea, where Christmas gifts are collected for local children in need, and the Christmas play for area elementary school children.