A gentle reminder: support your local pregnancy aid center

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.

CareNet has ten affiliates in New Hampshire.

Pennacook Pregnancy Center is just a block away from Planned Parenthood in Manchester.

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.

Giving: it’s for more than Tuesdays

I’m told that #GivingTuesday is a kickoff to the charitable season. Thanks for the clear border, guys, but where I live – amid people of modest means whose time is the greatest gift they have to offer – giving isn’t a seasonal thing. Still, this recently-minted hashtagged holiday sparks a few ideas. Some involve money, others involve time, and each has special meaning for me. While many of these suggestions are New Hampshire-based, similar opportunities exist wherever you live.

Gifts collected at the 40DFL baby shower will go to four agencies in Greater Manchester.
Gifts collected at a recent 40DFL baby shower went to four agencies in Greater Manchester.

Pregnancy care centers that provide abortion alternatives always need your help. Look for CareNet, Birthright, and Manchester’s Pennacook Pregnancy Center. Visit them and learn about the programs each one offers. Volunteer, or make a donation, or hold a drive to collect the goods they need. How about having a baby shower to benefit your local care center? Perhaps you have the business skills or fundraising savvy that make a good board member.

40 Days for Life is dedicated to peaceful and prayerful witness outside abortion facilities, in two worldwide campaigns each year, one in Lent and one in the fall. Manchester, Greenland and Concord have hosted New Hampshire 40DFL campaigns in recent years. No 40DFL donation is more critical than your time at a prayer vigil. A close second is rallying a team from your church to sign up.

The New Hampshire Food Bank does much more than supply food pantries throughout the state. While donations of food are welcomed, cash donations support the Food Bank’s extended programs. Host a food drive. Volunteer at the Manchester warehouse.

St. Charles Children’s Home in Rochester provides one-on-one behavioral treatment for students referred by local school districts. Where once it provided residential foster care, the Home now serves children in day programs. The Home is staffed by the Daughters of Mary, Mother of Healing Love, AKA the Running Nuns. The Labor Day St. Charles 5k race in Portsmouth for runners and walkers is a big fundraiser for the Home, and there’s room for you on the starting line.

The latter two projects have something in common: they’re agencies of New Hampshire Catholic Charities, which makes good use of your support for many other projects as well: health care, adoption, and refugee services, to name a few.

Give blood. I am as needle-phobic a person as you’re likely to meet, and yet I make time for this. I donated for a long time just because it seemed useful. Later, I saw loved ones benefit from medical procedures that would have been impossible without blood products. Go to redcrossblood.org to find a drive near you, or pay a visit to the Red Cross blood center on Reservoir Avenue off Mammoth Road in Manchester.

The annual NH March for Life is organized by NH Right to Life.
The annual NH March for Life is organized by NH Right to Life.

For educational and political work on the life issues in New Hampshire, consider supporting New Hampshire Right to Life and Cornerstone Policy Research. (Full disclosure: I’m a past board member of NHRTL and Cornerstone is a client of mine.)

Look in your own back yard. Local road races often benefit local charities; check them out. Is there a club or clearinghouse in your town that keeps up with community needs? For example: a few years back when we had that second “hundred-year-flood” in two years, several homes in my town needed extensive work. One of the service clubs put out a call for assistance, and we basically had a two-day town-wide rebuilding party. (I learned I can tear down soaked drywall like a pro.) If you’re a member of a church, do you have an ongoing local project? Each town has its own needs, and no one knows a town better than its own residents.

Farther afield, And Then There Were None serves abortion-industry workers who want to leave the business. To my knowledge, there is NO other ministry doing what ATTWN is accomplishing.

My thanks and respect go to everyone who keeps these agencies going, whether as a volunteer or a donor or a staff member. Every day is “giving Tuesday.” Let’s make it count.

Edited to add updated links and information.

From NH Catholic Charities during Adoption Awareness Month

I’m sharing a wonderful link from New Hampshire Catholic Charities’ blog, about the adoption services the agency provides. Meet an adopted child, a birth mother, and an adoptive family.

“A Catholic Charities adoption is a very special thing indeed. In honor of this month, and of the many beautiful adoption plans we have assisted with, we share the following stories.” Read the complete post.

Potluck Dinner for Manchester’s Pray for Life Center 11/15

Photo from prayforlifecenter.org
Photo from prayforlifecenter.org
[Update August 2015: the Pray for Life Center has closed.]

The Pray for Life Center across the street from Planned Parenthood’s Manchester office is not just a rented space. It’s a non-profit organization, and it relies on community support to stay open. The Center is hosting a potluck dinner on Saturday, November 15 at 5 p.m., with donations accepted for the Center’s ongoing work. Contact Cathy Kelly for more information: prayforlifecenter@gmail.com.

From the Center’s web site:

“The Pray for Life Center, located at 27 Pennacook Street, #1, Manchester, diagonally across from Planned Parenthood, is an IRS approved non-profit 501(c)(3) organization formed in direct response to the witnessing of lost innocent human life by abortion in Manchester. It is organized and operated to promote the sanctity of human life in the public square through prayer, education, and Christian charity to all, in the hope that through God’s endless mercy, hearts will turn toward life and the lives of the unborn will be spared…. PFLC is open all day on Thursdays (the day in which 20-30 lives are lost by surgical abortion at Planned Parenthood). For those who cannot walk in vigil outside Planned Parenthood, you are welcome to pray for the unborn, their parents, and the Planned Parenthood staff in our prayer room chapel.”

Learn more about the Pray for Life Center and the nearby Pennacook Pregnancy Center at www.prayforlifecenter.org.


Books for kids

Our Place is a program for pregnant and parenting teens, serving families in Nashua, Manchester and Rochester. While baby care items and clothing are always welcomed, they’ve put out a special request this month for books suitable for preschoolers. Board books and picture books, new or gently used, may be delivered to the Catholic Charities administration office at 215 Myrtle Street in Manchester.

Leaven for the Loaf readers who want to participate but can’t get to the Catholic Charities office can leave me a message on Leaven’s Facebook page. I can collect books within a limited area and then deliver them to Manchester.