Lincoln’s Pregnancy Resource Center offers many services to expectant moms
November 1, 2012, By Abby Ebelherr, Whether planned or a surprise, pregnancy is a difficult time for women, especially those without support. The Lincoln Pregnancy Resource Center has spent 24 years offering a faith-based service to pregnant and potentially pregnant women, and they’ve done most of it with community support.
The center was opened in 1988 by Pastor Greg Roe from Springfield, IL and is part of Living Alternatives Pregnancy Resource Centers, a non-profit organization that includes 11 centers throughout most of Illinois and one in Indiana. Currently the center is run by Director Linda Nelson and Office Manager Amanda Stidham.
Seven volunteers assist these two part-time workers, but it’s not enough. Volunteers are not limited to mentoring clients; they can also answer phones, take messages, or helping arrange the clothing rooms. Those that do help with counseling are given training by the center.
There are a variety of services offered at the center. A majority of services are informational. Free pregnancy testing is offered on-site in a handicap accessible bathroom, and if that test turns out positive, the Lincoln Center can arrange for women to have a no-cost ultra-sound at their Bloomington or Jacksonville location. Free pre-natal and parenting classes are also offered so expectant mothers can learn more about the best ways to care for their children. Most of the classes are videos that parents can watch and then complete homework sheets to show they’ve absorbed the information. According to Director Nelson, one young woman was very happy to become “more responsible” for her child, something she didn’t feel she learned from her own mother.
With each class a mother takes, she can earn “mommy dollars.” Mommy dollars can be spent at the center on items such as clothing, blankets, carriers, and more. Women that complete at least ten lessons earn a free Hope Chest, a basket stuffed with goodies for their child. Some of the Hope Chests come with handmade quilts donated to the center.
As a religious based organization, Living Alternatives centers will not perform, refer, or participate in the facilitations of abortions, and they do not distribute contraceptives. They do, however, give help to women post-abortion and mentor on adoption through their Adoption Center in Champaign. Most of their money comes through private donations from members of the community or through United Way. The organization holds several fundraisers throughout the year such as the Walk for Life and the Baby Bottle campaign. The Lincoln center recently raised $1,000 at their September Rock-a-Thon.
Director Nelson really appreciates the community outreach and hopes that people will “volunteer their time, prayers, or money, whatever they can give.” She hopes that when women come to the Resource Center, they walk away understanding, “God’s love, and that He has a plan for their lives.”
The Pregnancy Resource Center is currently located at 308 N. Union, though they are hoping to move to a smaller building with more affordable rent once they can sell their current residence. They are open Monday and Thursday from 9-12 pm and 1-5 pm, Tuesday from 9-12 pm, and Wednesday from 9-2 pm.
Editor's note: Rebekah Crider won the Chamber contest offered by the Herald a few weeks ago. She was given the choice of the Herald doing a story about anything she wished and Rebekah asked for us to write about the Pregnancy Resource center. The Herald is delighted to respond to her request.