After nearly 40 years of work on crisis pregnancies, the Carolina Pregnancy Center recently found itself faced with an unexpected dilemma.
Office space that the nonprofit had rented on Charles Boulevard for more than a decade was being sold, leaving the ministry to look for alternative accommodation.
But now, for the first time in its history, the center is hoping to gain a foothold with the purchase of a permanent location this summer at 209 E. Arlington Blvd. next to Gordon’s Golf and Ski.
“Over the years we have moved a number of times,” said General Manager Sherry Thornton. “We’ve never had the stability of being able to own our own building, so it’s exciting.
Founded in 1984, the center opened in 1985 at the first of four locations. Former manager Blake Honeycutt recalls moving from the Lee Building to the Pittman Building in downtown before moving to Johns Hopkins Drive in the Medical District, then near the intersection of Charles Boulevard and 10th Street to be closer to East Carolina University.
Buying a building will give the organization some stability and permanence, she said, although she questioned the timing at first. After all, the Carolina Pregnancy Center, like nonprofits across the country, had struggled financially in 2020. The coronavirus pandemic forced the organization to cancel its annual golf tournament and host a virtual banquet. fundraising.
“We thought (a fundraising campaign) was a bit impossible right now in this environment. We are emerging from a pandemic, ”said Honeycutt. “It didn’t make sense, but it ended up coming together and making perfect sense.
“It seems like a perfect time in how God has put it all together,” she said. “This cause is a primary cause for a lot of Christians out there. … It’s like a claim that the pregnancy center was supposed to be here.
In anticipation of the move, Friends of Carolina Pregnancy Center launched a Building for Life campaign to help raise funds for the new location’s $ 750,000 prize. So far, the effort has generated around $ 400,000 for the purchase and renovation of the building, which CPC plans to purchase in June.
Honeycutt, one of a dozen supporters serving on a resettlement committee, said a substantial down payment could allow the center to reduce its monthly expenses by buying instead of renting a property.
Thornton, who joined the center in March 2020 when the doors were closed due to COVID-19 closures, was moved by the response to the need for a new location.
“It has been amazing to see the support and the love,” she said. “I can’t even explain my emotions, but I’m just humbled and grateful and just amazed at the support. … It was amazing to see despite COVID, despite everything. “
Although Honeycutt said the center initially hoped to find offices closer to the university, the Arlington Boulevard building, located about a mile and a half from campus, offers several advantages. At 4,500 square feet, it is slightly larger than the current CPC facility.
Thornton said the layout of the new building will allow the center to provide a separate entrance for women who have appointments for pregnancy tests, who will not share waiting areas with clients needing baby clothes and of courses on the education of children. Plus, the extra space will allow the center to display baby clothes and other items in a store-like setting rather than having to keep them in a storage area.
Thornton, former director of customer services for the Wilson Pregnancy Center, hopes to create more of a “baby shop” atmosphere at the local center, which is expected to be ready to open by September.
“At Wilson, we shopped with the customer,” she said. “By taking classes, they earn a certain amount of baby clothes and baby items, diapers, and they have the right to choose what they want. Shopping just gives us another chance to form another relationship. It also gives the customer a positive experience, as they can choose the baby clothes they won for participating in the program.
Thornton said parenting classes are currently offered online, an option the center plans to continue offering after the pandemic. But he’s also gearing up for more clients to start coming in for services.
In the past five years, CPC has reported 5,000 appointments, 2,000 pregnancy tests, and 2,500 ultrasounds. During the same period, Thornton said nearly 200 children were born to women who previously considered abortion.