The Sumter Pregnancy Center holds its biggest fundraiser every year to help mom-to-be prepare for their newborn baby, but this year’s bottle banks are more empty than usual due to the coronavirus.
The Baby Bottle Boomerang, a year-round fundraising campaign to collect loose change in baby bottles, was normally planned for local churches, businesses, and organizations to participate from Mother’s Day to Mother’s Day. fathers in Sumter, but the pandemic kept people from congregating around this time this year, causing a shortage of donations for the local resource center.
âA lot of churches weren’t coming together and a lot of organizations weren’t coming together,â said Kristin Hallal, director of the Sumter Pregnancy Center. “It kind of put us in a crisis.”
The change collected would go towards support materials and educational resources for expectant mothers, but Hallal said they only received about 25% of their normal contributions this year.
âIt was a really big challenge because we are used to handing these bottles over to the group coordinators and then they distribute them in their church and collect them at the end of a deadline,â said Hallal. “We only had two churches that really wanted to have the bottles because they were getting together; not everyone wanted to distribute anything. It all has to do with the presence of the virus. Nobody wants to touch things.”
According to Hallal, the Sumter Pregnancy Center has 40 churches participating in the annual Baby Bottle Boomerang, but only the Methodist churches of Aldersgate and Heritage Fellowship participated.
She said Bethany Baptist and Southside Baptist churches have held special collections for the pregnancy center in place of the campaign. She hopes other churches will consider doing this or something else as an alternative.
âMany don’t meet in person or have just started over and are planning to do something later, maybe,â Hallal said. “With the problem of the flow of change, we don’t know what’s going to happen.”
With COVID-19, fewer people handle cash or receive change due to the spread of germs.
“We keep hearing that there is a dearth of change in our country. It is not a shortage,” said Hallal. “It becomes a challenge for us.”
It may have been a difficult year, but Hallal said staff at the center are not giving up. They decided to put the fundraiser on their Facebook page, Friends of SPC, to get more contributions and support online throughout the year.
âWe never have an end date for Baby Bottle Boomerang,â Hallal said. “We take them all year round. It’s just an easy way for people to support us without having to really dig deep in their pockets.”
Want to help?
Supporters can make a donation on this secure site, https://secure.egsnetwork.com/donate/B66773C232E740A, or by mailing checks to:
Sumter Pregnancy Center
P.O. Box 1445
Sumter, SC 29151-1445