Pregnancy Center East: Helping Parents Thrive
by John Stegeman
Imagine finding yourself pregnant and alone during a pandemic. That was the case for “Sarah,” a young woman who visited Pregnancy Center East during the COVID-19 lockdown.
“Sarah came in, and she had a previous abortion and was contemplating having another one,” said Laura Curran, executive director of Pregnancy Center East. “She came in during this crisis and was very fearful because of COVID-19. We were able to do an ultrasound for her.”
Curran said usually when women see the baby moving during an ultrasound, it is a very spiritual moment, but this one had extra surprises. The sonographer discovered Sarah was pregnant with not one, but three babies.
“She had not just one little soul to consider, but three souls to consider,” Curran said. “We have remained in touch with her through this whole process, and she has chosen life for those babies.” She continued, “Our mission is to help couples who find themselves in a crisis pregnancy to not only choose life, but also to thrive in their choice, whether it is birth or adoption.”
Around 800 people per year receive ongoing material assistance in the form of diapers, children’s clothes, baby wipes, car seats, cribs and more. People in need can come every three months. “We are going to help her with what she needs to be successful… We’re going to provide that for her. We’re not going to abandon you once you make your decision,” said Curran.
The non-profit has been operating on Cincinnati’s East Side for 38 years and offers a variety of services, including pregnancy testing, ultrasounds, parenting classes, post-abortion counseling and a 24-hour crisis pregnancy hotline.
They served more than 1,600 clients in 2019.
“We want to give them a safe, quiet space to figure out what choice would be best for them and their babies,” Curran said. This has been particularly important during the coronavirus shutdown. Curran said Ohio Governor Mike DeWine considered pregnancy centers an essential service, allowing them to continue operating. While the center usually has between 70-80 regular volunteers, they are operating on a skeleton crew of staff and about 10 volunteers right now.
“During this COVID-19 crisis, the intensity of the fear has just exploded,” Curran said. “A woman who might have just been a little fearful about her pregnancy is now just really scared…
More people are coming in. When they get a hold of a real person and meet us face-to-face, they are the most extremely grateful clients we’ve ever had. It has been very intense for our volunteers and for the clients themselves.”
Calls for baby food and clothes have increased as people are furloughed or laid off from work. The center has been able to meet the need thus far, but a funding challenge remains.
Pregnancy Center East’s biggest fundraiser is an annual banquet, which was canceled this year because of social distancing requirements. The banquet brings in 60 percent of the Center’s operating budget. Staff have been reaching out to the 900 people who would have attended to seek donations, and are asking anyone in a position to give to help out by visiting SupportPCE.com.
Additionally, Pregnancy Center East is moving from Norwood to a new location at 4760 Madison Road, near Madison Bowl. The new location is larger and will allow them to serve more clients and to become a broader service organization.
“What we really want this to be is the pregnancy center of the future, to make us a hub, so that we can service the whole person,” Curran said. “We want them to be successful in life.”
This article appeared in the June edition of The Catholic Telegraph. To receive a complimentary subscription at home, click here