Sav-a-Life seeks to fill baby bottles

Published 5:47 pm Monday, May 26, 2014

By Mandy Pascal

Baby bottles are popping up all over Pike County these days, but instead of milk they’re being filled with money.

The annual Baby Bottle Boomerang fundraiser is being conducted by Sav-A–Life, a non-profit center that aids women who find themselves in unplanned or crisis pregnancies.

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Jane Ward, executive director of the agency, said the Baby Bottle Boomerang is one of two major fund-raisers held each year. Hundreds of bottles are distributed on Mother’s Day to churches throughout Pike and surrounding counties. People are asked to take the bottles and fill them with money, returning to the churches on Father’s Day.

More than $15,000 was collected last year through the fundraiser.

“I am always grateful to the community for how much they support this service,” Ward said. “It means more than anyone will never know to not only the staff and member of the board, but also the women and children who are affected.”

Last year alone, more than 2,213 clients took advantage of the Sav-A-Life services. Each woman who sought aid from the center heard a message based on the core mission of the agency, Ward said. That mission comes from Psalm 139, verses 13-14: “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, and I know that full well.”

“There is always something else available rather than terminating the life of a child,” Ward said.

Sav-A-Life began its journey in 1986 and has been able to successfully make an impact on thousands of lives ever since. In 2013, the agency administered 548 pregnancy tests. Sixty percent were positive. Agency volunteers witnessed to more than 571 women, including 20 who were abortion minded. Of those, 35 percent changed their minds.

Ward also said the agency serves a wide age range of women. Last year, 12 percent of the women served were ages 13-18 and 37 percent were ages 19-22, with 13 percent of the women reporting to be university students.

“The youngest client we’ve ever served was 10 years old,” she said.

In addition to pregnancy testing, prenatal services and counseling, Sav-A-Life offers a variety of programs designed to reach out and educate the public.

A fairly new program that Sav-A-Life is headlining is “Decisions, Choices, Options” or “DCO.” With this, counselors go into local high schools and promote abstinence as the only real safe choice.

“We want to let girls know that no situation is easy no matter how old or young you are,” said Ward. “Abstinence is the safest choice and we feel like getting into the schools is the most effective way of getting this message out there.”

In the future, Sav-A-Life has quite a few goals. First on the list is moving into a larger facility. Currently, offices are located at 523 S. Three Notch St., and Ward said the group has outgrown the building. With a larger facility, Ward said the agency could offer a room with ultrasound machines so women would actually be able to see their children in the womb. Ward said Sav-A-Life also seeks to have on-duty nurses available to examine women and run the ultrasound machines.

Finally, getting the “DCO” abstinence programs into all seven area county schools is a major goal.

“We aim to continually be relevant to the needs of the community and want them to know without them, Sav-A-Life would not exist,” Ward said. “So we want to simply say thank you.”