A couple weeks ago, my cousin called me up while I was out with friends and started talking about TBL, my weight loss, the Pound for Pound Challenge and a Pregnancy Resource Center that her mom works at. Somehow, she combined all of these things and started talking about how for every pound I lose, she is going to donate $1 to the AAA Pregnancy Resource Center. My response? Uummm ok, great!?!!! She proceeded to talk (mind you I was sitting in a bar, having a beer with friends and was only partially hearing all of what she was saying!). She went on to talk about a Facebook Group and how she wants to invite all of her friends and family (which is also MY family) to join her in this. My response….umm ok…but hey I gotta go, we will talk more tomorrow…
I hung up the phone and realized what I just said yes to! My weight loss journey is about to become far more public than ever before. It is one thing to have this blog, where sure it is technically open to the whole world, but it is very limited still as far as who in my “real” world knows about it and still to this day, my brother is the only family to know about it! I wasn’t sure exactly how this would work, but I did know that this organization was now going to be depending on my weight loss for a portion of their funding. Talk about significance! OK! So I SAY I want to make a difference…and then it is like God saying…”Game on!”
The next morning, this Facebook Group was up and running. It took me a week and a half to invite my friends to it and I am just now writing about it on here. And today, I was doing my first official weigh in for this challenge? I am not sure what to call it. So, in addition to writing here, I will be posting in the FB group, and once a month I will be posting a picture of the scale on the FB group! Craziness!! Who knew that my weight loss would ever become something bigger than me and about something more than me! SO here we go!
Today I went to visit this Pregnancy Resource Center. One because I was invited by my Aunt and secondly because I thought I should have a better understanding of what they do…for when I want to give up! I am in awe of what they do. I got to see my Aunt’s face light up as she talked about all that she does there, the women that come in, and they get to help them make the best possible choice.
Often times places such as this are villianized as a place that uses strong arm tactics or scare tactics to convince women that they should never have an abortion. While this organization promotes abstinence and does not advocate or give any kind of referral for abortion, they do not use gruesome photos of aborted fetuses or even gruesome descriptions of the abortion process to dissuade women from this choice. Instead, they step in and walk along side a woman, always recognizing the choice they have to make is never, ever easy. It is not something to be taken lightly or without careful consideration. They provide free counseling, education, pregnancy tests, and even sonograms. They have a store filled with all the necessities a child would need. Diapers, wipes, clothing, car seats, swings, formula, shoes, etc. They even have gas cards if there is cash available to purchase them. All of these things are purchased with tokens provided by the center. The tokens are earned by taking classes on things such as parenting skills, breast-feeding, money management and budgeting. They can also earn tokens for completing Bible Studies or going to a church service of their choice.
Here is the amazing thing. ALL of this is provided through donations. There is no federal or state funding available for this organization. I imagine there could be, if they were willing to compromise their values, but since they are not it is all run off of donations and volunteers. There are only 3 paid staff and 2 of those are part time. There are at least 20 regular volunteers who help organize the donations, staff the store, teach classes, provide counseling, and answer phones. As for funding, much of their funding comes from individuals and churches who support their work. But much of it comes from their “bottle drives”. They pass out baby bottles and have people fill them with their change. Often churches will have diaper drives or “baby showers” to help restock the store. All of this is soo incredible!
While there I saw one woman come in with her young child. She apparently has a hard time understanding the bible, so she has been allowed to watch videos on the Bible for her Bible studies. She was soo excited to have recently watched a video about prayer and was telling my Aunt that she was disappointed that they couldn’t find the video on Matthew last time she was in. The women who come here are varied. Some are married others are not. Some are lower income and need the resources this place provides. Others are in crisis and need to make some really hard decisions. But all of them, regardless of their status or station in life, need someone to listen to them, to walk with them, and to not judge them. They all at some point may need a hug or a hand, and there is an army of volunteers ready to offer that and so much more.
I know this is long but I wanted to tell you about this amazing organization and the hope that it is providing. If you are on Facebook, and are interested in joining this group, look up “pound for a cause, just a dollar!” You can choose to donate less than a dollar if you need to. Even a quarter per pound lost would be an end result of almost 45 dollars when I reach my goal weight! $45 for the Center will provide almost 5 $10 gas cards. or 8 $5 gift cards for the local consignment shop. SO it makes a difference. If you are not on FB, you of course see my weight loss updates and can go directly to the Center website and donate that way!
Ok so here are some pictures that I took today then I am done with this post!!
On the right are things like shoes and onsies packaged into sets of 3 or baggies of socks or bibs.
This is a primary source of the Center’s Funding. While there, a local ministry brought these in. There are probably 50 bottles in here full of change ready to be counted and spent!