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Pregnancy Center of Central Iowa thrives on community support

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012 11:27 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012 11:28 a.m. CDT

Nearly three months after the Pregnancy Center of Central Iowa faced a decisive “do or die” situation financially, executive director Christine Law says things are looking up for the non-profit center that provides free pregnancy testing, parental counseling and infant care classes, adoption and medical referrals and a 24-hour hotline.  

“We’ve had churches step up and they’ve helped with funding, and we’ve had several community members who have donated goods or funds as well,” Law said.

It was a sizeable and anonymous donation, however, that gave PCCI the means to stay open following the threat of closing in September.

“They were the No. 1, main reason that we got to stay open immediately,” Law said, adding that the generous gift also will provide for PCCI staff to attend an upcoming conference.

According to Law, the outpouring of support following an article published in September detailing PCCI’s financial struggles was incredible.

“I love how much this has stirred the pot,” she said. “Here we are at the end of November and it’s still going strong, but come January and February I want it to still be strong. We need to keep the word out there, that we’re still here and we’re doing OK, but we could always use help.”

For now, though, donations of items the center keeps stocked, such as diapers and wipes, have piled up in such numbers that Law thinks it could be five to six months before she and her staff will need to purchase more.

This also comes as a result of recent changes involving how the center purchases items and weekly product limits introduced; because of this, the center has been able to cut back considerably on operating costs at its 200 N. Eighth Ave. E. Suite C facility.

“By cutting down, we’re putting limits on what people can get and not running to the store at the drop of a hat,” Law said. “We’ve trimmed back our budget by close to $2,000.”

“It’s a good problem to have,” she added. “It’s given us a reprieve on what we have to purchase, so the money we spend goes to rent and utilities and hopefully we can conserve.”

While many of the clothing and personal care items PCCI stocks require parents to “purchase” them using “Mommy Dollars” — certificates given out in return for attendance at the center’s many parenting classes — Law pointed out that, as winter weather draws nearer, those in need of a coat for his or her child may come to the center and receive one, free of charge.

“I hate to see a child without a coat, I think a coat is a necessity,” she said. “All they need to do is come say, ‘I need a coat for my child.’” The center currently offers winter coats in sizes ranging from newborn to 4T, and has a limited supply of snow pants available as well.

While the outpouring of support from the community has been fantastic, Law emphasized the need for consistent support throughout the year as well. This especially rings true since, as of the September closing of Birthrite in Grinnell, PCCI is the lone center of its kind in the area.

“We also serve the Sully area, the Colfax area, the Mingo area; we even have people come over from Grinnell and Marshalltown because they don’t have that type of assistance available there,” she said.

“When Birthrite closed, all I could think when I sat there and read the paper was, ‘that could have been us,’” she added.

Because of this and the recent financial hard times that have befallen the center, Law explained that fundraising efforts over the next year will be in full force. First on PCCI’s calendar is a holiday open house, which the center will host on Dec. 16 from 3-5 p.m.

“Unless they’ve made a special effort or needed to come to the center, nobody has really seen our new center, so as kind of a holiday fundraiser we want everybody to come see our new facility, and we’ll have a freewill donation,” Law said. “All of our counselors and volunteer staff and paid staff will be there for questions as well — we’re excited to showcase the new place,”

In addition to the open house and the annual Walk for Life the center holds each spring, Law detailed plans to potentially hold a fun run in the fall — tentatively titled the Fall Crawl — and perhaps a movie showing complete with concessions as additional fundraising events throughout the year. Until then, however, PCCI will be looking to local churches, groups and individuals to keep the lights on and the doors open.

“We’re in better shape but we’re not out of the woods,” she said. “We’re still watching every penny that walks out the door.”

To contact or donate to the PCCI, email at PCCI@iowatelecom.net, call at (641) 792-3050 or stop by the center at 200 N. Eighth Ave. E. Suite C.

Nicole Wiegand can be contacted at (641) 792-3121 ext. 422 or via email at nwiegand@newtondailynews.com.

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