Bad economy hits pregnancy resource center in Gautier

By Patrice Clark - bio | email

GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - A Jackson County organization that helps single and teen mothers is now seeking help during these tough economic times.

PROMISS, which stands for Pregnancy Resources of Mississippi, provides free education, consulting and baby supplies to women in need.  While the need is increasing, the donations are decreasing.

Nearly empty shelves are a familiar sight at the PROMISS Women's Center in Gautier.  Development Director Jennifer Williams said lately it has not been easy giving young, single mothers the assistance they need.

"We are not able to provide as much because we are not getting as many donations," Williams said.

Williams said the bad economy has impacted donations of money and baby supplies.

"We raised close to $20,000 this year, and we have an operating budget that is around $200,000. We still have a big need to meet."

The pregnancy resource center opened in 2002.  Executive Director Rachel Nelson said the non-profit organization offers free ultrasounds and even a "learn while you earn" program, which rewards a mother for continuing her education.

"We serve thousands a year, and we do a lot of outreach work," Nelson said about the organization's service in the community. "In 2008, we served over 6,000 youth who participated in an abstinence program.  At the center, we serve an average of 50 a month. "

Danielle Frechette is a single mother of two. She said the program is a lifesaver, and has even taught her to be a better parent.

"It's really hard to survive, period. But without PROMISS, it would be even harder."

PROMISS hopes more South Mississippians will give to help more mothers in difficult situations.

"A lot of people like to bury their heads in the sand and they don't like to face the music. They should want to give because all around us we are faced with teen birth.  Mississippi is number one in teen birth and we can either respond to it, or we can continue to ignore it," Nelson said.

For more information about PROMISS, call (228) 861-4243.

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