A client tours the new Angel Babies Boutique, which is inside the same building as The Pregnancy Center. The boutique offers gently-used clothing to the public and clients of the non-profit.
The Pregnancy Center’s new location – a two-story, 12,000 square-foot-building on Caring Way - is strikingly different from their old space directly across East Church Street. Not only is the facility several times larger, it’s fully renovated, and was donated to the non-profit outright by the Hammill Family Foundation. The space will allow them to expand their offerings to the community.
“This is an absolute dream come true,” said Pregnancy Center Executive Director Pat Page at the ribbon cutting ceremony, Monday, Aug. 24. “When I met with the Hammills, they had plans I didn’t know about. They asked what we needed and I told them we were out of room. They said they wanted to help – at first I thought they might add a shed onto our old building, but they told me to dream big. It’s incredible, and we are giving all the glory to God.”
The Hammill Family Foundation, formed by Dick and Sue Hammill who were present at the groundbreaking, have been supporters of the faith-based Pregnancy Center for years - but after a meeting with Page last year decided to increase their support level and purchase, renovate, and donate the building.
“We are so happy to be a part of this,” Mrs. Hammill said just before she and her husband cut the ribbon. “It’s been a God thing all the way.”
Mr. Hammill commended the staff and volunteers of the center for their service and dedication to the community.
“These are some incredible people,” he said.
The Pickens Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting ceremony for The Pregnancy Center. The building was donated by The Hammill Family Foundation. Dick and Sue Hammill, sixth and seventh from left, are pictured along with staff and volunteers of the non-profit, including executive director Pat Page, center.
The Pregnancy Center has been in operation since the early 90s, and assists moms and parents with free, confidential services to support the family unit. They offer pregnancy testing, pregnancy counseling, childbirth classes, abortion recovery counseling, parenting classes, family and life skills classes, fatherhood classes, and addiction and couples counseling.
“And these resources are open to anyone who needs them,” Page said. “We work with all kinds of demographics that need support and counseling.”
The Pregnancy Center also operates the Angel Baby Boutique, a store in the same building that sells gently-used baby, children, maternity clothing, and nursery items/decor to the public for 50-70 percent off retail.
“We wash and sort everything, and don’t put things out that are in bad shape with stains or rips,” Page said. “This is a boutique not a thrift store.”
Participants of The Pregnancy Center’s courses can be part of their “Earn While You Learn” program where they earn “Baby Bucks” to go towards buying items in the store. New and pregnant moms can even earn enough to buy a playpen and car seat, and can also get a new diaper bag and three new items out of the Mommy Store (also located in the same building).
Faith Kroening, a teen who wanted to work in the Angel Babies Boutique after being moved by the programs’ mission and impact, said she hears positive feedback from clients all the time.
“People who come in tell me all the time how much The Pregnancy Center affected their lives,” she said. “It’s so inspiring.”
There were several former and current clients of the non-profit at the ribbon cutting, including some like Jasmine Grindstaff who was there with her young teen daughter who was just a baby when she started coming. The non-profit helped her deal with the struggles of being a young mother. She said over the years staff and volunteers have become like family. In fact, all of the moms interviewed said the center was instrumental in their success as mothers of young children.
One mom, who now has a master’s degree in Educational Leadership, touched on the challenges and stigma young pregnant women and moms face. Even though she was pregnant in her very early 20s, she said her grandfather stopped speaking to her and still will not speak to her to this day. She loves the local pregnancy center because of their welcoming nature and support.
“Teen and young moms already feel like they’re being judged,” she said, “and I’ve been to other pregnancy facilities in nearby counties and they made me feel judged and that’s not good because moms who need help will leave – but that’s not what it’s like here at all. They make you feel like part of the family. It’s very personalized, and they’re Christian-based, but they don’t push religion.”
A tour of the new facility showed several counseling rooms, space for group meetings. The center will add group classes, Bible studies, books studies and more in the future. The upstairs level has 20 offices they will rent to outside parties for office space.
The Pregnancy Center, 7 Caring Way, Jasper, can be reached at 706-253-6303. Visit them online at www.babyontheway.org.
The Angel Babies Boutique is open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. They can be reached at 706-253-0011.