First Banquet for Life raises money for new center

By Cindy Gladden, Record Staff Writer
Posted 11/7/19

A movement began to open a pregnancy resource center in Warren County last September. Since then, a board of directors has been elected and they are hard at work to make the Pregnancy Options Center …

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First Banquet for Life raises money for new center


A movement began to open a pregnancy resource center in Warren County last September. Since then, a board of directors has been elected and they are hard at work to make the Pregnancy Options Center of Warren County a reality.On Thursday, April 20, the organization’s first annual Banquet for Life was held at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Warrenton. More than 300 people were in attendance, supporting the newly founded organization with pledges, donations and offers to volunteer.According to board member and treasurer Dr. Pam Moehl, organizations and businesses underwriting the banquet provided more than $8,000. Proceeds were more than $21,000, with another $14,000 worth of pledges. Total receipts were more than $44,000, adding to previous donations of $27,000.“This board of directors is on fire,” said Joe Dalton, founder of In His Image Ultrasound and executive director of the Pregnancy Resource of Rolla. “There are a lot of steps they need to take. The next one will be to hire an executive director.”In 10 years, the Rolla center has supported more than 2,300 births, offering aid to women with difficult pregnancy choices. Dalton said he and others will provide mentoring to the Warren County center, helping the leadership to avoid mistakes made by other centers.“I think we’ll look back at this evening and see we were on the brink of something very special,” he said. “There is a lot of training ahead of us. They’ve got this group of ducks but they are not in a row yet.”The mission of the organization is to “provide help, hope and healing to those in our community facing pregnancy choices.”The center will offer lab quality pregnancy testing, limited obstetrical ultrasound, information on pregnancy options and parenting education.Referrals and material items will be provided, as well as post-abortion counseling and emotional support.Board President Diane Foland said the effort has seen “one miracle after another” in its efforts to get the center going.“It’s more than saving babies and helping moms,” she said.Foland said the center will sponsor an “Earn as You Learn” program. Parents will earn money to buy baby items by taking classes on budgeting, parenting or resume writing to help prepare them to become better citizens and parents.Dalton said he agrees with Alveda King, niece of the late Rev. Martin Luther King, who said the pro-life movement is the “civil rights movement of our day.”The founders of the Pregnancy Options Center are pro-life and saving every baby is their goal.“In the 16 years I have lived in Warren County, I have never witnessed such incredible interdenominational support,” said Moehl. “This is an opportunity for you to become a part of this. If you have a gift for screening applicants for the executive director, we need you. If you have a gift of construction or project management, we need you.”Guest speakers for the banquet included Cherilyn Meyer-Walters and Hollie Chowning.Meyer-Walters recalled the devastation she experienced as a young pregnant teenager in the 1970s. Abortion was only available in the state of New York. Her family arranged the procedure.“What do I remember?,” she said. “Not the plane ride which was my first. What I remember is holding the nurse’s hand so tight. No one asked me anything. I took the life of my unborn child. I was never the same. There was shame, guilt and regret.”Meyer-Walters said that between 1970-73, more than 350,000 young women traveled to New York for an abortion. Sixty-one percent were out-of-state residents. She said that more than 60 million babies have been aborted since then in the U.S. alone.Hollie Chowning remembers being told she had cervical cancer during her first pregnancy as a young teenager. Chowning chose not to abort her baby as the doctor suggested. She consulted a second doctor who found no cause for concern and she later delivered a healthy baby boy.Chowning feels there is no coincidence that she and her husband Jay moved to Warren County “at such a time as this.” They will be on hand to help the new organization.Dalton said that it only takes $500 to save a baby through a resource center. He said one of the donors to the Rolla center often sees a baby and wonders if his donation went to save that baby.“We have a young mom pregnant with triplets,” he said. “Thirty-five people have signed up to rock the babies. Volunteering comes with some amazing perks.”The organization has many needs and is looking to the community for help.They ask for carpenters and laborers to renovate a facility when it is located, skilled nurses to perform ultrasounds, experienced counselors, trained doulas, La Leche coaches and people with computer skills.They also need receptionists, fundraising coordinators and those willing to offer prayer for the organization.Items needed in the future will include computers, printers, a flat screen TV, file cabinets, furniture, tables, appliances, quality maternity clothing, baby clothing and baby diapers.Any monetary donations can be sent to Pregnancy Options Center, 1410 Robyn Ave., Warrenton, MO 63383.The Pregnancy Options Center thanked Father John Mayo from Holy Rosary Catholic Church and its members for hosting the banquet.Joe DaltonHollie Chowning