One Thing You Need to Know Before Volunteering at a Pregnancy Center

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I sat down in front of the TV with a glass of sparkling cider, an hour left in the year. I tried to focus on the New Year’s festivities on the screen, but in truth, I wasn’t paying attention. My heart was burdened for all that had happened in 2015. All the horrors that had been brought to light involving Planned Parenthood were troubling me as the clock ticked down. It was troubling me for months.

As I sat there on New Year’s Eve, one thing was on my mind.

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When are you going to start doing something?

I’ve always been pro-life, knowing that babies in the womb are precious and matter deeply to God. When the issue first came to my attention in middle school, I was horrified. Since then, I’ve voted pro-life and believe deeply that abortion should be stopped. But beyond that, what had I actually done to make that happen? Voting pro-life is important, but it isn’t the whole story. This battle has to be won on every front, and the most practical front is at the micro level, at the level of empowering individual mothers to save their individual babies. Because each of these individual lives are precious.

So I determined that this was the year I would get connected with a pregnancy resource center to see what I could do to help, even though I was still caring for my own newborn baby girl.  This was the year I would make it happen, and I was determined that night, sitting there on the couch as the ball dropped amidst the confetti.

Honestly I may have forgotten about my determination as the days went on though, if it wasn’t for the fact that the Lord brought me straight to a booth for a local pregnancy resource center at a women’s conference. Pamphlets sat on the table, describing the kind of volunteer help they needed. I took a pamphlet, talked to their director, and gave them my contact information. Then I waited for an e-mail.

And I waited. And waited.

That’s when I realized one thing that every potential pregnancy center volunteer needs to hear before they sign up.

If you want to help, you be the one to be persistent.

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Pregnancy resource centers are busy places, my friends.

Not only do they provide women with counseling, financial planning, medical services, parenting classes, assistance in finding jobs, and material gifts to these women, but many of their day-to-day operations are run by ordinary people, just like you, who are volunteering their time. They are busy. They want your help, but they may not have enough time to recruit volunteers, figure out their individual talents and schedules, and assign them jobs. If you want to help, make it easy on them.  

Being persistent means taking the initiative. Call and then be humble and determined enough to help wherever they ask. Ask what their needs are and where they need help. Call again if they forget to call you back. Then take any ideas out of your head on where you would be best utilized and help them with what they need.

Some of the skills and time they needed for certain positions at the pregnancy resource center, I didn’t have. But they were faithful to tell me where they needed help. I want to do so much more, but through my contact with the center I felt the Lord urging me to just offer what I had and let Him use it.

For me, that means washing and sorting batches of baby clothes and scrounging up some stroller donations for the ladies at the center. It means calling every now and then to see if they need extra help with anything. It means presenting myself and the time I have to offer as a resource to the center and helping where I can, even if it’s not glamorous.

It means praying for the center.  

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I know it makes a difference to those who run the center to know they have people that want to help. I know the baby items, donated by generous friends of mine, and the extra packs of diapers I buy at the store make a difference to the moms who receive them. And I know, with all my heart, that even though it’s invisible, the prayers I offer up for the center make a difference in helping women and their babies more than anything else.

But it didn’t start because a pregnancy center worker saw my innate talents and recruited me.  It started because I pestered them until they let me help. So if you want to support your local pregnancy center, I suggest the same. Be a pest, be persistent, and then help in the way they ask.

Those seemingly little things that we offer on an individual level matter more than we realize.  God can use our seemingly humble offerings in ways we can’t imagine.