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.
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.
Thanksgiving has mellowed my Facebook feed, for a few days at least. Political disputes have given way to photos of family reunions, accounts of recipes that did or didn’t work, and cheerful appeals from area service agencies. One post in particular (embedded below) stood out today: a 17-year-old described how she organized a drive to collect items needed by clients of local pregnancy care centers.
I shared the post on Leaven’s Facebook feed, and I got a message from a reader: could I point out the new address (after many years on Kelley Street) for Manchester, New Hampshire’s Birthright? “Our clients have found us, our donors have not!”
Glad to do so: 247 South Main Street, Manchester. That’s next to Sacred Heart Church. Look for the Bishop Gendron building with the Sacred Heart food pantry. To confirm hours, call 603-668-3443.
If you’ve never checked out this blog’s page of New Hampshire crisis pregnancy resource agencies that do not refer for abortion, I invite you to do so. Some have web pages with a list of needed supplies. All would undoubtedly welcome financial help. Some have ongoing projects, like CareNet’s baby bottle drives. Perhaps you’re a member of a service group that could “adopt” a pregnancy care center to meet ongoing needs.
To all who are already working or volunteering or donating in support of this work, thanks. The rest of us can pitch in anytime, without going too far. The links on this blog will give you contact information for agencies in Manchester, Nashua, Concord, Portsmouth, Rochester, Dover, Claremont, Littleton, Keene, Laconia, Plymouth and West Lebanon.
CareNet volunteer Karen Colageo was the featured speaker at the closing gathering for Manchester, New Hampshire’s 40 Days for Life winter campaign. She’s been a post-abortion counselor for more than a decade. “I’m here to speak about abortions, not ‘abortion.’ Specific events. Private, emotionally wrenching experiences. The stories you need to hear are the individual testimonies.” The abortions she experienced herself were an important factor in her eventual work. “My heart is with the woman who has had an abortion.”
Colageo is married to a local Lutheran pastor, and her post-abortion-counseling work includes use of a Bible study called “Forgiven and Set Free.” Does that put off some of the women she tries to reach? “It grieves me, really, when nonbelievers avoid the program because it’s a Bible study.” She described one such woman who gave the program a second look after she was unsatisfied with other attempts at post-abortion counseling. “She came back to me and said ‘I’ve tried everything else; what have I got to lose?'”
Several years after having her abortions, she bore a child whose arrival nudged open a spiritual door. “I had a beautiful baby girl. Despite what I had done, God had entrusted me with a beautiful child, an unmerited gift.” Coming to terms with her earlier abortions was a gradual and difficult process, and Colageo is frank about the religious dimension to her healing as she realized she had taken the lives of her other children. Through her involvement in a church community, she learned about CareNet and sought counseling there, her first encounter with the “Forgiven and Set Free” program. “Finally, someone allowed me to grieve, and applied the healing words of the Gospel to my open wounds. We learned to pray with David [Psalm 51]: ‘a broken, contrite heart, O Lord, you will not despise.'”
She fully accepts the estimate that one in three women will have an abortion by age 45. “Be careful what you say. There are a lot of broken women out there. Condemnation does no good. Women must be saved as well as children. We cannot forget that.” She says about her work, “Women need to know their abortions can be forgiven. They can turn death into life. I’ve seen truly broken women come alive.”
The evening’s gathering also served as a baby shower for four area agencies serving pregnant women and young parents: Birthright, CareNet, the Pennacook Pregnancy Center, and Our Place.
The next 40 Days for Life campaign is scheduled to begin September 23.
40 Days for Life, in which New Hampshire volunteers have played an important role, is having a webcast this evening at 9 p.m. that will serve as a review of the success of the last 40 Days campaign nationwide. The web announcement also promises “abundant hope … three keys to stopping abortion in your community.” Register at the 40 Days for Life website. This is tonight, 9 p.m., and participants may listen via phone or webcast.
This one is a few weeks off, but because of the cost I’m listing it now so you may plan accordingly. The New Hampshire Federated Republican Women will have its annual Lilac Luncheon on May 20, and the speaker will be Star Parker of CURE. Tickets for non-members of NHFRW are $50. I know, ouch – but I will be there to cover Parker’s remarks, and you can count on a blog post or two from that.
Two Twitter feeds:
@nhcornerstone. (Full disclosure: I have been employed by Cornerstone Action and Cornerstone Policy Research.) Cornerstone promptly reports on important votes in Concord, and the Twitter feed also keeps you informed about Cornerstone’s pro-life/pro-family work in New Hampshire.
One web site to bookmark: nhrtl.org. New Hampshire Right to Life sponsors our state’s annual March for Life. It also has an email alert list to keep supporters notified of times and places of public witness outside abortion facilities. This is New Hampshire’s oldest pro-life group not affiliated with a church. By the way, the site includes an announcement that the speaker at NHRTL’s annual fundraising banquet in October will be Kristan Hawkins, executive director of the aforementioned Students for Life.
One volunteer opportunity: Birthright is always looking for people to help in direct ministry to women in crisis pregnancy. The group is resolutely nonpolitical, and their only work is to “love them both,” mother and child. To find out the particular needs in your area, you can call Birthright in Manchester at 668-3443 or Derry at 434-3000.
As always, these links are for informational purposes only and do not constitute my endorsement of everything on the sites.
One more number, just for fun: ONE. That’s for this blog, which I started one year ago this month. It was a tiny thing at first, and then I abandoned it for a few months, but now here we are! I am grateful to my readers.