BY CANDACE RINER –
With the help of over two dozen churches in Polk County, the Fresh Start Pregnancy Resource Center was able to raise $12,733.28 with their annual Baby Bottle Boomerang Fundraiser, exceeding their 2014 total by over $2,600. The non-profit group expressed their sincere gratitude for everyone who returned empty baby bottles filled with coins, bills, and checks that will enable the center to purchase updated curriculum and meet other ministry needs.
Fresh Start was humbled by eight year old Damon Cruz of Mena who participated in the fundraiser. He brought in a popcorn cup full of dollar bills and coins he collected by selling lemonade and by asking relatives to donate to the center. He also put the cup in his room, and when friends and family entered his room, they were asked to donate. The center is blessed by people of all ages and their generous hearts to help babies and families.
Churches and organizations are encouraged to return their baby bottles, empty or full, so they can recycle the bottles each year. When they get the bottles back, it keeps them from having to purchase more.
Churches participating this year included: Bethel Baptist Church; Caddo Gap Baptist Church; Calvary Baptist Church; Cherry Hill Baptist; Cherry Hill Methodist Church; Concord Baptist Church; Dallas Avenue Baptist Church; First Assembly of God, Mena; First Baptist Church, Cove; First Baptist Church, Grannis; First Baptist Church, Hatfield; First Baptist Church, Mena; First Baptist Church, Vandervoort; First Christian Church; Grace Bible Church; HEDGE Homeschool Group; Home Churches; Lioness Club; Mena Church of God; Mena Church of the Nazarene; Mena First Methodist; Penuel Assembly of God; St. Agnes Catholic Church; The Crossing; Trinity Lutheran; Quality of Life Group.
Fresh Start will hold their First Annual Fundraising Banquet “Come Grow with Us” on Thursday, November 5, at 6:30 PM. Their guest speaker is Ashley Rainey Escu, daughter of Dennis and Barbara Rainey, President, CEO and cofounder of FamilyLife, a division of Campus Crusade for Christ. Ashley is the mother of five sons and a foster mom of 14 in the last two years. She loves her kids and has been thrilled to discover that through foster care she can have a ministry in others’ lives while still staying at home. She has been the cohost with Bob Lepine of Family Life This Week for six years. She is also the author, along with her mother Barbara Rainey, of A Mother’s Legacy. Ashley is a regularly featured blogger at MomLife Today. She currently homeschools her three younger sons, while trying to keep up with her two older boys in public school. She has recently helped launch a ministry, The CALL, to recruit foster and adoptive families from the church to help the children in her county. She is also a trained precept leader and loves teaching bible study. Ashley has been married to Dr. Michael Escue, Obstetrician & Gynecologist for 16 years and has been a mother for 14 years.
Churches and individuals may contact the center to reserve a seat or table for the banquet. Tickets are $25 each or a table for $200. The banquet will be held in the new Ouachita Center on the campus of Rich Mountain Community College.
Fresh Start also welcomes Debra Lambrecht as their new Administrative Assistant. She will be working along with the Director, Elizabeth Beasley to carry out the day-to-day operations of the pregnancy center.
Fresh Start is committed to providing compassionate mentoring, practical help and accurate information to women and men facing unplanned pregnancies or past abortions; openly sharing the love, hope, and truth of Jesus Christ.
Their services include: Pregnancy tests; educational information on fetal development; information regarding options, risks, and consequences of abortion; referrals to healthcare facilities, maternity homes, and other community resources; family support mentoring; post-abortion healing; First Time Mom Program; Earn While You Learn Program and Life Skills.
Fresh Start is located in the rock house at 1308 Hwy. 71 N, in Mena, next door to Miner’s A & B Tire and across from Sun Country Inn. They can be contacted at 479-394-1186. For more information about Fresh Start and how to partner with them, visit their website at www.freshstartprc.com and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/freshstartprc to keep up with other special events they are planning as well as other news and updates.