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Friday, April 13, 2007

The Gainesville Care Center

Recently a local organization, with little or no media coverage I might add, celebrated a significant milestone. Gainesville Care Center, in late March, celebrated its 20th anniversary. To celebrate with them, about 800 folks packed the Georgia Mountains Center for a catered meal and to hear Fox News Channel’s Judge Andrew Napolitano speak.

Beginning in 1987 with a full-time staff of one and an annual operating budget of just over $13,000, the Care Center offered the services of pregnancy testing and providing maternity and baby clothing. That first year the Center’s 15 volunteer client assistants ministered to 182 often very young and very scared young ladies.

Currently the Care Center has a paid staff of seven and an annual operating budget around $240,000. There are 42 volunteer client assistants, three volunteer nurses, and five volunteer sonographers. This year they will provide services to over 1,200 individuals, female and male. The Center now offers a dozen programs and services which range from pregnancy testing and ultrasounds, to STD testing (for male and female), to post abortion support (for male and female). They also educate clients on the “adoption option” and then refer them to Christian adoption agencies in the area.

In the 20 years of the Care Center’s existence, over 25,000 clients have been helped. Nearly 1,000 children have been spared from abortion as a result of the Care Center’s work.

Estimates vary, but currently in the U.S. there are anywhere from 2,300 to 4,000 such “pregnancy resource centers.” These centers now outnumber abortion providers (just over 1,800) in the U.S. They are at the heart of the current abortion battle. According to a recent Time magazine article, “the Bush Administration has made them a centerpiece of compassionate conservatism.”

Many centers are independently operated, but typically most are affiliated with one of three national organizations: Care Net, Heartbeat International, or the U.S. National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA). Gainesville Care Center is affiliated with both Care Net and NIFLA. According to their Web site, “Care Net is the largest pregnancy center affiliation organization in North America with a network of more than 1,000 Christian pregnancy centers.”

Heartbeat International operated the first pregnancy resource centers in the U.S. and today, with just over 1,000 in 37 countries, is the largest operator of such centers worldwide. NIFLA operates around 1,000 centers spread across all 50 U.S. states.

Pregnancy resource centers have been around since just after the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, which legalized abortion on demand. The vision for Gainesville Care Center was birthed in 1985. The “core group” then consisted of Don and Sylvia Delozier, Jim and Ethel Boone, and Brad and Mary Dunagan. The doors opened in 1987 with Sylvia Delozier serving as the executive director.

The current director, who has held that position for the last 13 years, is Ann Gainey. Many local churches, businesses, and individuals help support the center financially. Local nurses and physicians volunteer their time to serve at the center or on the board of directors. Mrs. Gainey adds that, “We are blessed to have so many local churches, businesses, and individuals help support the ministry financially. The Care Center could not open its doors each day to hurting people in our community were it not for the local nurses, client assistants, sonographers, and physicians who volunteer their time so faithfully. Also, we are grateful that Georgia’s current Lt. Governor and Hall county resident, Casey Cagle, who is a former board member, now serves on the honorary board.”

Along with the other services provided, since 1994, the Care Center’s abstinence educators have presented a program on sexual purity and STD education in the city, county, and private middle and high schools, as well as area colleges. The Gainesville Care Center also offers a myriad of programs and services to churches, civic groups, and other local organizations.

Those who visit Gainesville Care Center looking for help are treated with respect, compassion, and care by the 50+ volunteers and staff whose goal it is to show them the love of Jesus in real and practical ways. Call 770-535-1413 to find out how you can be a part of this vital ministry in our community.

Copyright 2015, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World