My email newsletter to blog subscribers on #GivingTuesday included as many online donation links as I could find for New Hampshire’s pro-life pregnancy & parenting centers. (Missed it? Catch up!) I missed an important one: Birthright of Manchester. My thanks to the board member who has filled me in on the donation link.
Permit me to nudge aside some of the end-of-year charitable appeals in your inbox in favor of this: a reminder of some of the great agencies in New Hampshire that specialize in supporting women who are pregnant in challenging circumstances.
You’ll find pregnancy AND parenting support at these agencies, any of which would be very happy to receive your support as a donor or a volunteer.
This link offers contact information for every organization listed here. If you are aware of any updates, please let me know – thank you! Several of these agencies have Facebook pages with frequently-updated information about current needs.
Birthright has offices in Manchester, Derry, and Portsmouth.
New Generation in Greenland provides shelter for homeless pregnant and parenting women. In addition to having volunteer and donation opportunities for supporters, New Generation has its Second Generation Thrift Shoppe to provide an easy way for you to support the ministry.
Our Place, a ministry of New Hampshire Catholic Charities, supports young parents from pregnancy through the first three years of their child’s life.
When you look for local agencies that make a difference in the lives of New Hampshire families, be sure to keep these in mind.
[photo courtesy of Daughters of Mary, Mother of Healing Love]
Labor Day is a little more than three months away, which means it’s time to pencil the annual St. Charles 5K race onto your calendar. I’m a walker myself, so racing is optional. 5 kilometers = 3.1 miles = basically a walk in the park. See you at Pease Tradeport in Portsmouth on September 5.
This isn’t just any old 5k. It’s the 20th anniversary of the St. Charles Children’s Home 5K, and that’s worth celebrating. Registration is now open. I’m told that the first 800 registrants get t-shirts (although sizes are limited), so get cracking.
Race sponsors are welcome, too! Whether you can support the race with a cash donation, a promotional item for the runners’ swag bags, or something for the raffle, you’ll be helping the kids who depend on the St. Charles Home.
Longtime readers of this blog know that I’m a big fan of the work done by the Daughters of Mary, Mother of Healing Love in Rochester, New Hampshire. At the St. Charles Home, these women work one-on-one with children who have behavioral challenges. A couple of decades ago, the Sisters discovered that running helped some of the children in their care. Some of the Sisters began running with the kids, and the women in their habits and running shoes became familiar sights at area 5k races.
The first St. Charles 5K I signed up for was held at Spaulding High in Rochester, where I finished 21st out 22nd in my age group. The event has grown a lot since then, and now the annual race is on the grounds of the Pease International Tradeport. It’s a great family event with a cookout, raffles, and a mini-race for the littlest runners. I’m still one of the slowest people out there, and I always have a good time.
It’s a New Hampshire pro-life tradition. Come support the kids and the Sisters who care for them. The race’s landmark anniversary will be something to celebrate.
There’s a page on this blog under the “Links” tab that doesn’t get much traffic, but it’s too important to take down: “Crisis Pregnancy Resources in New Hampshire”. “Crisis” doesn’t really reflect the ongoing assistance these agencies provide long after a crisis point is passed. I might have to change that page title.
I know many of my readers already support these pro-life ministries. Others may be looking for new ways to get involved. This is for you.
I’ve heard from two of these agencies in recent weeks about volunteer and donation needs. Where can you help?
From Pennacook Pregnancy Center in Manchester, 603-206-5306: Their number-one need is volunteers who can commit to a three-hour shift one day per week. A minimum of 15 hours of in-house training is provided. Pennacook Pregnancy Center will also provide training for sidewalk counselors; contact the center for more information.
Also from Pennacook: “Diapers, wipes. baby clothes and accessories are always appreciated.” I’ll take the liberty of saying that’s true for every center listed on the resources page.
From Birthright of Manchester’s latest newsletter: “As a new venture…individual parishes have been holding Diaper Drives for Birthright! These drives have proven to be very successful and defray the exorbitant cost of purchasing diapers.”
What do you say to a Mother’s Day flower sale? That’s a Birthright fundraiser. Look for volunteers outside your church on May 8. Want more information about setting up a sale at your own church? Go back to that Resources page and phone your nearest Birthright. Even if it’s late to plan for this year, Mother’s Day will be back next year – and so will Birthright.
Birthright of Manchester’s wish list is probably similar to what other pregnancy care centers are looking for: baby wipes & baby wash, crib sheets in neutral colors, receiving blankets, onesies, socks, sleepers, play outfits (Birthright Manchester is looking for sizes 3-9 months; clients at your nearest pregnancy care center might have different needs), disposable diapers (especially sizes 1-5), and new or gently used spring and summer clothing for children through size 3T.
For any center: can you answer phones? Sew, knit or crochet layette items? Do you have medical, legal or educational expertise that could benefit centers and the clients they serve? Would you like to learn what it takes to be a board member? Call a pro-life pregnancy care center near you and ask about volunteer opportunities.
When you contact a pro-life pregnancy care center, ask to be put on their email contact list and make sure you know if they have a Facebook page. Those are the best ways to stay abreast of urgent needs and scheduled fundraisers.
I’m haunted by something I was told by a pregnancy care center director recently: “kids aren’t being read to.” Books for pre-schoolers will not go to waste at a center that helps support young parents. Our Place (with three New Hampshire locations) has an annual project that’s dear to my heart, collecting children’s books late in the year for distribution to clients at the agency’s Christmas party.
No need to think that a donation has to be big to be helpful. A baby shower can be as simple as meeting a few friends for coffee, with each person bringing a baby item to be delivered to a pregnancy care center. Yes, I’ve done this. It’s simple, it’s local, and friends with coffee are involved. What’s not to like?
No one can do everything; everyone can do something. Thank you for all you do, now and always, to make it easier for people to choose life.
What happened between those two dates was a lesson and a warning: anyone who tries to stop giving money to PP, however small an amount, will be smeared. Also, PP shrewdly turned Komen’s decision into a fundraising opportunity, reportedly getting $250,000 in donations within days – donations not earmarked for breast health work, by the way.
Fox News reported at the time that Komen grants to PP totaled roughly $680,000 in 2011 and $580,000 in 2010, “going to at least 19 of its affiliates for breast-cancer screening and other breast-health services.” Those services were (and remain) primarily manual breast exams. PP does not do mammograms, as PP leader Cecile Richards affirmed to a Congressional committee in 2015.
Remember – Komen was planning to pull the PP grants in order to give the money to organizations doing more direct breast-care services. That wasn’t acceptable to PP.
At the time of the Komen flap, Richards decried the politicization of women’s health. “It’s hard to understand how an organization with whom we share a mission of saving women’s lives could have bowed to this kind of bullying. It’s really hurtful.” To the New York Times: “I think there’s really been a chord struck over this issue, this issue of political organizations who are trying to politicize women’s reproductive health. This kind of political bullying — I think folks are just saying, ‘Enough.’”
Komen officials could have swapped stories with her about how hurtful it is to bow to bullies.
One Komen executive, Karen Handel, soon became an ex-Komen executive. She wrote a book, Planned Bullyhood, in an attempt to set the already-cloudy record straight. From Politifact, September 25, 2012:
“Some critics suggested Handel was behind Komen’s policy decision. But in her book, Handel says Komen had considered ending the relationship with Planned Parenthood ‘for at least a decade,’ as Komen restructured its grant model to focus on measurable outcomes to fighting breast cancer. That focus, she said, excluded much of what Planned Parenthood did.
“In her book, Handel makes pointed statements regarding Planned Parenthood’s services, noting that the organization promoted itself as a provider of mammograms to poor women.
“‘The truth is, Planned Parenthood does not provide mammograms,’ she wrote. ‘Planned Parenthood refers women to mammography providers, serving as the middlewoman, if you will.'”
Today, Komen affiliates are free to give grants to Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood is still not a breast cancer research organization, nor does it provide mammograms.