“Village” raises the Columbia Pregnancy Center

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Amber Johnson and her 5 month old son Samuel, front, and Brianna Loranger and her 1 month old son Caleb, select baby clothes on November 19 at Annie’s boutique at the Columbia Pregnancy Center. (Kevin J. Parks / CR staff)

COLUMBIA – The coronavirus pandemic should have wreaked havoc at the Columbia Pregnancy Center, but its benefactors had other ideas.

In August, the 501 (c) 3 mission in Howard County doubled in size by relocating to offices near the intersection of State Route 32 and Broken Land Parkway. The lease was signed on March 30 – two weeks after Governor Larry Hogan restricted gatherings and places of business in Maryland, and four days after the cancellation of the annual CCP banquet, which in a normal year provides the half of its operating budget.

“We were able to meet our fundraising needs, although fundraising was all but sabotaged,” said Nancy Vawter, Executive Director. “There was a lot of work involved in the move, I could never have imagined it, but people are always generous with us.

“It actually appears that there has been an increase in the desire and passion to help.”

Among those helping the CPC, which offers free and confidential assistance to pregnant women as an alternative to abortion, are the Knights of Columbus of St. Michael’s Council 10525, Poplar Springs, Mount Airy. Her continued support included the donation of an ultrasound machine to CPC in March 2018.

The Shrine of St. Anthony in Ellicott City and the Sodality of St. Augustine in Elkridge have organized knitting and crochet teams that provide prayer shawls to mothers and pregnant women, respectively, as well as blankets, hats, and knitwear. booties for their babies.

Our Lady of Perpetual Help and the Church of the Resurrection in Ellicott City are among the parishes that organize annual CCP offering drives and donate clothes, wipes and related materials, gathered during baby showers. “.

The St. Louis Parish of Clarksville is doing the same, in addition to providing over half of the CPC’s volunteers, who total approximately 60. His contributions also include the onboarding of Vawter, who spent 20 years as ministry director. from campus to St. Vincent Pallotti. Laurel High School.

When three generations of her family settled on farmland in Dayton, Vawter became a parishioner of St. Louis.

“Every Sunday I saw an ad for an executive director (of the CPC) in the newsletter,” said Vawter, who added, “I wasn’t looking for a job.

Vawter, who holds a master’s degree in pastoral counseling from Loyola University of Maryland, became the first full-time executive director of the CPC in January 2017.

The CPC will celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2021, in a 3,500 square foot space that includes “Annie’s Boutique”. The name honors Vawter’s late mother, who worked three jobs to raise her three children on her own.

“She led a selfless life, doing what others needed and never worrying about herself,” Vawter said.

The new CPC includes a dedicated prayer room, which Vawter described as a “luxury for volunteers in difficult situations”. From St. Louis Parish, they include Mike and Kim Damewood. Parishioners Amy Campbell and Mary Dan are Director of Client Services and Client Advocate, respectively.

Vawter hopes that Monsignor Joseph L. Luca, pastor of St. Louis, will perform an open blessing to the public during the 40th anniversary year.

The church is part of a pastorate that includes Saint Francis of Assisi to Fulton, another benefactor. The wardrobes that store the clothes, meanwhile, were built by Presbyterian deacons.

As Vawter said, “You can see, the village is supporting us. ”

Email Paul McMullen at [email protected]

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