Best of 2020: pro-life neighbors at work

No contest: this year’s rock stars have been the staff, volunteers, and board members of New Hampshire agencies that offer pro-life assistance and support to pregnant and parenting women.

This odd year calls for an unusual best-of list. I won’t list multiple categories or runners-up. Pregnancy care centers have swept the board, as far as I’m concerned. They are committed to being effective and abortion-free.

Here’s a link to contact information for the agencies I know about. There’s probably one near you, if you’re a Granite Stater. I welcome corrections and updates.

Service in a challenging year

In an abortion-friendly economic and social environment – the COVID-19 pandemic, economic upheaval, and a shortage of housing options – these are the people who have kept going with critical human services work. Most have done so without benefit of customary annual fundraisers, as one event after another fell victim this year to COVID cancellation.

As if offering practical assistance isn’t enough, these agencies have to follow laws and regulations that let them stay in business. With or without a pandemic, someone has to file the IRS forms, report to donors, make sure the charitable-trust paperwork is in order with the state, and pay attention to local zoning requirements.

Different missions

Some agencies are part of national or international ministries; Birthright and CareNet come to mind. Some, like St. Gianna’s Place, are home-grown. Others operate under the umbrella of a larger organization, as Our Place works within Catholic Charities. Some agencies are probably operating under my radar (and I hope to learn more about them).

“Agency” sounds impersonal. Perhaps “team” is a better word. Each individual team member brings a gift, an experience, a talent to the table. It takes the right mix of talents to bring a team to life.

These teams serve families all over New Hampshire, from pregnancy through the early years of parenting. Specific missions vary. What unifies them is commitment to the value of human life.

What you can do

Every agency relies on donor support. They’re all hurting this year, with cancellations of things like annual fundraising banquets and Mother’s Day flower sales. No matter your location or the specific mission you’d like to support, you can find an agency whose clients could benefit from your generosity, however much or little you can afford.

Find out if there’s a “wish list” on the agency’s website. Even one package of diapers can help keep a closet stocked.

Go on whatever social media platform you favor, and look for pages or accounts for New Hampshire pregnancy care centers. That’s where you’re likely to find the most up-to-date information about needs and services. Share what you find.

Is your local team looking for volunteers, staff, or board members? Then it’s time for prayerful discernment. Maybe there’s a place for you.

I’m filled with gratitude for everyone who plays a role in a pro-life human services ministry. In a year where inspiration has been in short supply, you’ve inspired me.

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