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Walking in faith

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By Marty Finley

 

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By MARTY FINLEY mfinley@thenewsenterprise.com ELIZABETHTOWN– With overcast skies above them, a multitude of walkers gathered at St. James School Saturday morning, hoping to help the Heartland Crisis Pregnancy Center in Elizabethtown smash its goal of 180 sponsored walkers and $28,000 in its sixth annual Walk For Life. The walk is a major contributor to the center’s funds, and is especially pertinent this year as the center is trying to extend services, adding ultrasounds to their repertoire of pregnancy resources within the next year. The event made about $23,000 last year, executive director Marcia Orban said, and she was confident about this year’s turnout, particularly in meeting the goal of sponsored walkers. “We know we have exceeded that,” she said, adding that the workers passed out about 180 bottles of water to people, with some declining the offer. Orban said they probably wouldn’t know the final amount of money made for a few weeks. The center also wanted to promote awareness with the event, and hoped to get 30 churches involved in the walk. “I think we’ve exceeded that goal as well,” she said. Frank Smith and Mike Welch represented a small group of participants from Memorial United Methodist Church. Smith and Welch, adorned in matching bright yellow shirts with church logos, said they joined in after their wives got involved. “It’s a great cause and you wanna do your part to give back,” Smith said.  Both men said it was their first year, with Welch adding that he participated in the annual Relay for Life event. After a prayer, the walkers left the school grounds and made their way to the pregnancy center on Memorial Drive, a walk that normally takes about 30 to 40 minutes, Jeanie Senay, a member of the center’s board of directors, said. Once at the center, participants were encouraged to partake in snacks and peruse the center, which is under construction for the new additions. The extension will include three counseling rooms, with the old counseling rooms being utilized for other purposes; a classroom, where the center will teach a number of educational pregnancy courses; and a prayer room. Orban said she hopes to have people in the room praying as much as possible.   The new additions will augment the services already offered by the center, which include a food pantry, pregnancy tests, post-abortion counseling and Bible studies. The center also has a rewards program called the Earn While You Learn Parenting Programs. Parents in the program can earn points by watching instructional videos and completing worksheets. The points are then redeemed in the center’s resource room, which has an ample supply of baby materials, including clothes, car seats, bottles and blankets. "It's not a handout, and clients feel really good about earning what they need," Orban said. Daryl Pepper, chair of the board of directors, said he was encouraged by the number of families that came out to the event, pushing strollers and carrying their kids. He said he was also excited that they could show the participants the goals they were working toward, while others were making their first visit to the center. The board set the goals for the event three to four months in advance, Pepper said, and plan to set the budget for 2009 before the end of the year. He said the process was always interesting since they work from donations alone, but the center doesn’t worry about the outcome. “We’re always trusting the Lord to meet every need we have,” he said.   Marty Finley can be reached at (270) 505-1762