Celebrate Life Week is both a symbolic and practical occasion for Aiken Pregnancy Care Center, an advocacy facility for women who are pregnant or are new mothers.
The Christian-based organization has planned a week of events in conjunction with the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court case that legalized abortion nationwide. The events also serve to meet needs of the ministry and the women it serves.
"We always need diapers. We always need supplies," said Jennifer Feemster, Aiken Pregnancy's executive director.
The organization is outgrowing its house on Barnwell Avenue. Families attend weekly parenting classes, crowding into small conference rooms and shopping for infant clothing in a closet.
"We've always got requests for more clothes, and things for older children, but we just don't have the room," Mrs. Feemster said.
Next week's activities include an open house, a prayer vigil and diaper drives. The ministry is funded by area churches.
Aiken Pregnancy has three staffers and a team of up to 20 volunteers who offer counseling and clerical services.
"When we're low, the churches hold baby showers for us," Mrs. Feemster said. "We restock our closet with the things they bring us, but it only lasts a couple (of) weeks."
Last year, it served 1,178 clients, 409 of whom were new.
Most clients are from 20 to 24 years old and single.
Of all the clients in 2009, about 35 were what the center calls "abortion-minded."
It's difficult to know what percentage of women change their minds about having an abortion because not all are willing to seek further counseling, Mrs. Feemster said.
"We're focused on giving women another option," she said. "We counsel them about the resources that are available."
Reach Kelly Jasper at (706) 823-3552 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
CELEBRATE LIFE WEEK
These events will be at Aiken Pregnancy Care Center, 225 Barnwell Ave. N.W. Call (803) 649-9890 for more information:
MONDAY: A luncheon for current volunteers will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
TUESDAY: Drop off new or used items and clothes for babies and toddlers from 11 a.m. to noon.
WEDNESDAY: A prayer vigil will be from 11 a.m. to noon.
THURSDAY: Drop off diapers from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
FRIDAY: An open house will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
SATURDAY, JAN. 23: From 11 a.m. to noon, release one of 400 balloons in memory of abortions performed in Aiken County last year.