GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - If you’ve ever gone down Cowan-Lorraine Road in Gulfport you’ve most likely seen the big sign on a small brick building that says Free Pregnancy Test. But that’s not all you’ll find inside the Women’s Resource Center.
Young mothers can also find solid advice, support and services. At the Women’s Resource Center, ultrasounds are free thanks to donations and longtime volunteers like professional nurse Suzanne Packard. There are also free printed materials available on everything from adoption to STDs, and free pre-natal and parenting classes.
On top of all that good information, expectant moms like 21-year-old Kala Jones have even more of an incentive to visit - They can earn points.
“She was telling me about the ‘Earn While You Learn’ program,” Jones said. “So I went and looked at the boutique, and I was like okay, this is going to be fun! And on top of that, I get to be around other mommies or soon-to-be mommies. We go to our doctors appointment, we have them sign it. We go to our WIC appointments, we have them sign it, and we come back and check it down and we get Mommy Money.”
That Mommy Money can get you everything from baby and maternity clothes, to formula and food. The items are all donated and the boutique is run by volunteers.
Ada Irby is one of the center’s nearly three dozen volunteers. She teaches those classes I told you about. Ada came to the Women’s Resource Center 16 years ago.
“I just fell in love with the whole situation, the whole story of how these sweet girls have to go through all this,” Irby said. “I knew a little bit about it myself, because of my loved one, you know it’s just how it happened, and I couldn’t quit. It’s just like, this is it. This is where God wants me to be.”
Director Tiffany Bell feels the same way. This isn’t just a job. It’s a calling.
“We just want to make sure they are educated,” Bell said of the young women who use their services. “If you choose to adopt, this is what’s going to happen with that. If you choose to parent, if you choose to abort, whatever those choices are. They just really need to know what to expect, and we are just here to love them.”
To learn more about the various services available at the Women’s Resource Center in Gulfport visit https://www.wrcgulfport.org/