Fill it up: Pregnancy Resource Center to hold event to stock mobile unit with supplies

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By Melanie Tucker melt@thedailytimes.com

It was back in 2015 when Valerie Millsapps got the idea to expand the Pregnancy Resource Center in Maryville through the purchase of a mobile unit.

A fundraising campaign got underway and in September 2017, it was wheels on the ground. The unit now can travel in and outside Blount County, offering ultrasound and pregnancy testing free of charge.

It was only days after it was first put to use that this rolling pregnancy center had its first impact on a young life. Hannah came aboard as the mobile unit was parked at the Chilhowee Baptist Center in Maryville.

The young lady who was into drugs struck up a conversation with PRC staff and volunteers. She all had but given up on getting her life on track.

“She has totally taken a 180 in her life,” said Millsapps, the executive director of PRC. Such amazing strides were made that Millsapps ended up sending Save the Storks, a pro-life nonprofit, a video of Hannah’s story.

In the video, Hannah talked about her drug use and discovering last year that she was pregnant. She said her “druggie friends” and others told her she should have an abortion and get on with her life.

But, Hannah opted not to do that. She had an ultrasound aboard the mobile unit and talked with the team onboard the bus. She said it changed her life. She now calls PRC her family and has recaptured her dream of becoming a worship leader.

A success story shared

What happened next shocked both Hannah and Millsapps. Both were invited to the Save the Storks gala in Washington, D.C. Save the Storks is the organization that provided the mobile unit to PRC. Hannah’s story was shared in front of this national audience. She was even offered a scholarship, another total surprise. She will give birth to a daughter this spring.

That whole experience, from being a lifeline for Hannah to seeing her now flourish, is all the proof Millsapps needed that this mobile unit will help PRC further its mission to reach out to women with unplanned pregnancies and to offer them help in bringing a life into this world.

While in D.C., Save the Storks also gave PRC a $10,000 gift to be used for leadership training.

Here in the early days of 2019, the mobile unit, named Annalee for the daughter of a client, heads out two days a week to offer its services free of charge, just as the PRC headquarters on Old Niles Ferry Road also does. Millsapps said PRC’s goal is to add more financial partners this year as it expands outreach.

More immediate needs include supplies for the mobile unit — things like diapers, baby wipes, baby shampoo and other hygiene products.

So when an opportunity to partner with Chick-fil-A at Hunters Crossing in Alcoa came along, PRC took it. On Saturday, Feb. 2, the mobile unit will be parked at the restaurant from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Customers are asked to bring a donation of the needed items in exchange for a free chicken sandwich or nuggets. Diapers are especially needed, Millsapps said.

“Our heart is for moms,” she said. “They make a decision to choose life. We want to be able to help support them. These are their most basic needs.”

In their shoes

As executive director of PRC, Millsapps has walked alongside young women, many who have no family to speak of as they make decisions surrounding their unplanned pregnancies. She also has a personal connection, too; she also was a teen mom.

She remembers what it was like struggling to pay for diapers and also to keep food on the table and a roof overhead. “I remember the weeks when I was not going to be able to afford diapers,” she said. “Then, there on my front porch would be diapers.”

The young lady who was into drugs struck up a conversation with PRC staff and volunteers. She all had but given up on getting her life on track.

“She has totally taken a 180 in her life,” said Millsapps, the executive director of PRC. Such amazing strides were made that Millsapps ended up sending Save the Storks, a pro-life nonprofit, a video of Hannah’s story.

In the video, Hannah talked about her drug use and discovering last year that she was pregnant. She said her “druggie friends” and others told her she should have an abortion and get on with her life.

But, Hannah opted not to do that. She had an ultrasound aboard the mobile unit and talked with the team onboard the bus. She said it changed her life. She now calls PRC her family and has recaptured her dream of becoming a worship leader.

A success story shared

What happened next shocked both Hannah and Millsapps. Both were invited to the Save the Storks gala in Washington, D.C. Save the Storks is the organization that provided the mobile unit to PRC. Hannah’s story was shared in front of this national audience. She was even offered a scholarship, another total surprise. She will give birth to a daughter this spring.

That whole experience, from being a lifeline for Hannah to seeing her now flourish, is all the proof Millsapps needed that this mobile unit will help PRC further its mission to reach out to women with unplanned pregnancies and to offer them help in bringing a life into this world.

While in D.C., Save the Storks also gave PRC a $10,000 gift to be used for leadership training.

Here in the early days of 2019, the mobile unit, named Annalee for the daughter of a client, heads out two days a week to offer its services free of charge, just as the PRC headquarters on Old Niles Ferry Road also does. Millsapps said PRC’s goal is to add more financial partners this year as it expands outreach.

More immediate needs include supplies for the mobile unit — things like diapers, baby wipes, baby shampoo and other hygiene products.

So when an opportunity to partner with Chick-fil-A at Hunters Crossing in Alcoa came along, PRC took it. On Saturday, Feb. 2, the mobile unit will be parked at the restaurant from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Customers are asked to bring a donation of the needed items in exchange for a free chicken sandwich or nuggets. Diapers are especially needed, Millsapps said.

“Our heart is for moms,” she said. “They make a decision to choose life. We want to be able to help support them. These are their most basic needs.”

In their shoes

As executive director of PRC, Millsapps has walked alongside young women, many who have no family to speak of as they make decisions surrounding their unplanned pregnancies. She also has a personal connection, too; she also was a teen mom.

She remembers what it was like struggling to pay for diapers and also to keep food on the table and a roof overhead. “I remember the weeks when I was not going to be able to afford diapers,” she said. “Then, there on my front porch would be diapers.”

This article originally appeared at thedailytimes.com