The Parkland Pregnancy Resource Center (PRC) held its annual “Walk For Life” fundraiser Oct. 28 while simultaneously celebrating its 18th birthday
The fundraiser and birthday celebration continued in Ironton at the PRC’s satellite offices at the Monarch Family Resource Center later that evening.
PRC Executive Director Becky Laubinger explained that the pro-life fundraiser is usually a two-mile walk with participants raising money through sponsorships to benefit the operation of pro-life organizations.
Family-friendly activities take place during the event, and there are games and food. Due to Saturday’s wet weather, the event was moved indoors. “It was nice that people are able to see the new facility and what their donations, financial and otherwise, have provided,” she said.
PRC began in 2005 as a faith-based non-profit in Park Hills with the primary goal of providing much-needed support to young and single mothers in the form of care, support, and education regarding sexual health, pregnancy and developing healthy relationships. The program has evolved through the years and expanded its service offerings to include classes for fathers, as well as on the subjects of sexual abuse recovery, abortion recovery, developing healthy relationships for teens, and parent support.
The satellite office was opened at 109 N. Main St., Ironton, in February to serve the broader needs of families in that community. Then, in September, PRC celebrated the relocation of its operations to a larger facility at 1565 Ste. Genevieve Ave., Farmington.
There is no cost to participate in the program, but one must be pregnant or have a child in the household who is under the age of three. Points earned by participants through attending classes and completing homework can be redeemed in the boutique for items like diapers, wipes, and other childcare products. New items available include clothing, toys, strollers, new clothing, new toys, and baby furniture.
“It’s learn-to-earn,” said Laubinger. “We also try to be sure the boutique is stocked with personal care items for moms, keeping in mind that if a mom can find items here and spend their points, then they are able to save their cash for other expenses that EBT cards don’t cover. It’s a great way to restore dignity to a mom who may have been struggling, and she realizes she has earned these items.
“They haven’t just been handed out to her. It’s like the one mom we had whose child was aging out of the program, and she still had unredeemed points. She had started a new job and having problems scheduling time to shop before her points expired.
“Her husband asked why she was so stressed about points. She told him that it was because it was like money and she had earned it — that it represented the time she had invested in the program. That made us feel really good because it demonstrated that she embraced the concept of learn-to-earn.”
PRC also has a no-cost free resource area where gently used items can be found, including maternity items and clothing from newborn sizes to 4T.
“We call it the closet,” said Laubinger. “There are some new things available, but most are gently used. It all comes from community donations. We are pleased to accept any donated items like clothing, books, toys, and baby items — but do ask that people make sure the items are the kind that they’d be pleased to use for their own children or grandchildren.
Laubinger said that, as December grows closer, the center also includes a Christmas room. Gifts for families and toys are also available. They are provided by the staff at the center as a gift to the parents for their diligence in enrolling and participating in classes.
Speaking of donations and wish lists, Laubinger noted that additional needs come with program growth, and the timing is often unexpected or untimely.
“We have a great kitchen space here at Farmington, and so on our wish list is an electric stove to teach basic cooking classes for families,” she said. “That would be wonderful to be able to add to the program here. We could teach about healthy meals and saving money by preparing food at home. And even though we’ve just relocated to this larger facility from Park Hills to Farmington, we need more space—storage space. We’re super blessed in our community with some factories who donate to us, and then we’re able to distribute those donations around the state, but we just need some space to house those until we send them out to other PRCs across the state. Right now, we have a large shipping container where items are stored, and volunteers work to sort and then put them in our rooms. Then they organize things so that they can be sent out to additional locations for people in need.
“Lastly, we have Monarch in Ironton growing like crazy and not even being open a year yet. It’s outgrowing the initial startup space, and we’ll need to find larger operating facilities for them soon.”
Laubinger, who has future growth and ministry expansions in mind, is contemplating how PRC and MRC can provide services to even more families.
“People always like to ask about five-year plans, but my board has told me I have to put some brakes on some ideas,” she said. “We took on a whole lot this year, not haphazardly, but we just need to see how the budget works out with operating two centers and a new building. But our five-year plan would include setting up a mobile or remote boutique that connects with churches or organizations in some communities farther from here.
“Southeast Missouri is very underserved, an economically poor part of the state, and there are so many cycles of dysfunction. People could get the lessons on their phones or online, we could see they are active and find ways to get the items to them. We just need to find ways to train up a generation that lives differently than the brokenness of the generation before. We want them to live healthy lives and see families in our region reunited.”
To learn more about enrolling in a program at PRC, volunteering your time, becoming a financial supporter, or donating items, call them at 573-431-6001 or visit their website at www.parklandprc.com.
To learn more about enrolling in a program at FRC, volunteering your time, becoming a financial supporter, or donating items, call them at 573-546-2166 or visit their website at www.monarchfrc.com.
Lisa Brotherton-Barnes is a staff writer with the Daily Journal. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.