Sunday, May 20, 2012

Alpha Pregnancy Center: Saving lives in San Francisco

As you know, I am a supporter of our local pregnancy crisis center "Alpha Pregnancy Center." Their annual fundraising banquet was this weekend and since you missed it, I wanted to share with you some of the inspiring and heart breaking things I heard.

Their banquet this year was actually not a banquet, but an event called "The Great Turnaround." This is a national campaign to raise awareness and funds to save 100,000 unborn children this year. This organization will be giving 300 presentations around the nation in hopes of raising one million dollars for this cause. They are a faith based organization as is Alpha.

The event started with a local woman sharing her story of how Alpha Pregnancy Center and it's director were there to help her when she felt like there was no hope. She was desperate for help and turned to Alpha for it's services in providing a crib, diapers and clothing for her second baby. A few years later she found herself unexpectedly pregnant and didn't know if she could handle another child. Once again, with the help of the center and it's counselors she decided to keep the baby and was blessed with all Alpha's support and care. She even shared that the director of the center was the only person who came to visit her after her baby was born.

There were many tears shed during her story. You could see that this woman didn't have a support system around her as many are blessed to have. The director of the center became her friend and almost family. Through the care and love that was shown to this woman, she heard the gospel and gave her life to Jesus.

Wow. I know my words can't convey the emotion of this woman's story, but can you see how the Lord is using this center to change lives? To save lives?

The director shared other stories of women seeking help and finding Jesus. She also shared a few statistics with us about the work they do. Last year, they gave 104 free pregnancy tests. Of those with positive results, 74% chose to carry their babies to full term and 26% chose abortion. There were 81 babies born last year with this center's help. Praise the Lord!

Of course they do more than just give free pregnancy tests. They give pregnancy options counseling, pre-natal and parenting education, and free diapers, cribs, clothes, car seats and baby food. Women can receive the help they need to keep and raise their children.  They can also receive post abortion counseling if they choose not to keep their baby. There is no judgement, just hope, love and a lot of help.

Then she shared some statistics about abortion.  In the Bay Area, there are 40,000 abortions a year. The abortion rate is 40% higher here than the rest of the nation.  Let that sink in a bit. It hit me like a brick. 40,000 babies . . . every. . . year. . . are aborted. That means well over 40,000 women are faced with making this life and death decision. I feel ill just thinking this through. I really can't fathom . . .

This pregnancy center is one of two in the entire city of San Francisco. It's really small. There is only one paid employee. This year, they've had more volunteers than ever before, they've also helped more women and served more clients than in their 30 year history! They've had a lot of big victories this year. but they are ready for more. Last year they purchased an ultra sound machine in hopes of being able to offer free ultrasounds. It's said that when a woman seems her baby and hears the heart beat she is much more likely to choose life. They already have RNs who are willing to volunteer.  All this center needs are the funds to hire an OB-GYN to use it. 

The other need they mentioned was for a Spanish speaking volunteer. More than 35% of the clients they serve speak Spanish, but they don't have a way to clearly communicate with them! Another 35% of their clients are Asian. This year, they had their first Cantonese volunteer and that has been a huge help in serving those women! (Imagine having to play charades in order to ask for diapers!)

The key-note speaker shared that it costs roughly $1200 in services and supplies to save each baby. So, in order for them to continue saving lives and increase in the number of women and children they can serve, they need to raise more funds.

How much should saving a life cost? How much should helping a woman go through and support an unplanned and maybe even unwanted pregnancy? The dollar amount they mentioned seemed high to me at first, but then the more I thought about it, really, it's life! 

I can't put a price on that.

Chris and I were moved to increase our giving to Alpha this year. We believe in life and we want them to continue serving these woman and offering them hope for this life and eternity. I can't expect you to support the San Francisco pregnancy centers if you live elsewhere, but if you do live in the Bay Area, please consider helping Alpha Pregnancy Center save lives. I've highlighted a few of their specific needs for you to be aware of but please check out their website for more information.

They are making a difference.

1 comment:

Brenda said...

You know Emily, I have had the volunteer application for Alpha Pregnancy Center in my desk for 3 months and now you say they need a Spanish speaking volunteer- that would be me. Pray with me that I can make this happen!