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By Chris Gregory, Managing Editor

Hartsville’s Community Pregnancy Center held its first fundraising banquet last week as the facility nears its one-year anniversary.

Nearly 100 people attended the event at the Community Center and enjoyed dinner while hearing testimonials from staff and clients of the pro-life center.

“I have the privilege of serving with an outstanding team of volunteers,” said Peg Shonebarger, who serves as the center’s director. “Since opening our doors last June, we have seen… married women to young couples to scared women. Everyone who walks in has a need.

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette
Audience members enjoy dinner during the Community Pregnancy Center’s fundraiser last month.

“At CPC, we strive to offer hope and to exemplify Christ’s love by helping meet those needs.”

Shonebarger said the CPC has seen approximately 30 clients since opening last June.

Volunteers shared stories from clients and one client spoke at the banquet.

“The Pregnancy Center has a special place in my life,” said the woman, who asked that her name not be used. “When I found out (I was pregnant), I didn’t know what to do.

“They have become like family to me. I’m thankful for my son because he saved me and opened my eyes to know that God is real.”

The guest speaker was Karen Mitchell, Vice President for Research Development at Volunteer State Community College.

Mitchell spoke on “The Gift,” which was the theme of the fundraising banquet.

“We are thrilled with the response we had! We raised just over a third of our annual operating costs that night, and we have pledges from others who will donate over the next 12 months,” Shonebarger said of the banquet.

Shonebarger also thanked the following table hosts: Carol Ambrosetti, Wayne & Gail Andrews, David & Cheryl Baldwin, Matt & Amy Brown, Linda & Carroll Carman, Matthew & Betsy Carman, Leroy & Paula Kelly, Regina & Larry Logsdon, Hannah & Yochanan Marcellino, Marla & Daryl Ratliff, Desi & Adam Steva and Van & Reggie Thompson. She also thanked all those who helped with planning, decorating and conducting the event.

The Community Pregnancy Center, located at 783 E. McMurry Blvd., is open Monday through Thursday each week and offers services such as free pregnancy tests, peer counseling, prenatal education, life skills classes and parenting classes. All services provided by the pregnancy center are free to clients.

The CPC also held free on-site cooking classes during April.

The center also has a fully stocked baby boutique with diapers, clothing and much more – all donated by members of the community. Clients can obtain ‘points’ to be used in the boutique by participating in various classes.

Shonebarger said the center would be participating in a ‘Baby Bottle’ fundraiser with area churches beginning on Mother’s Day and running through Father’s Day in June. People wishing to donate can put money in the bottles, which will be returned to the center. Shonebarger said a similar fundraiser last year raised around $7,000.

“The people here are wonderful,” Shonebarger said. “We operate totally on donated dollars, so it’s wonderful for us. We hope it will be our best fundraiser yet.”

For more information on the center or on volunteer opportunities, call 615-680-8026 or visit pregnancycenterhartsville.org.

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com.