By Gayle Irwin
After seeing an unfulfilled need in her Texas community one woman stepped up and along with others began filling the void for assistance to women experiencing unplanned pregnancies.
Amanda Hodges Pruitt of Athens, Texas, with the support of her church, opened Abundant Life Pregnancy Resource Center earlier this month.
Discovering the need
Pruitt had joined groups praying for sanctuary cities for the unborn in their state, including a community in their county.
“We were praying for God’s presence in the city, leading up to a vote on the ordinance,” she said.
While this is a good effort, later, an idea came to Pruitt’s mind.
“I thought, ‘This is great, I love it, but what are we telling women who think abortion is their only option?’” she said. “We’re not giving them any alternative or help. We’re just saying, ‘It’s wrong and we don’t want it here.’”
A desire grew to help those women.
“Someone mentioned a pregnancy resource center,” Pruitt said. “I had to look up what that was. I started looking into it and thought, ‘Oh – that’s a thing for sure.’”
She talked with her pastor from Faith Fellowship Church and discovered he had started a pregnancy resource center through his former church in Atlanta, Georgia. He was open to a similar venture.
“His response to me was, ‘Well, I’ve been praying about that for 10 years since I moved to East Texas. I’ve done this before,’” Pruitt said. “So, we went before the church, had a little interest meeting, and everyone said ‘yes!’”
The church body voted to sponsor getting it started, she added.
That was May 2021. By early December, the pregnancy resource center opened its doors.
A steering committee formed after the church approved starting the center. The group applied for and received federal non-profit status. They leased a space, and the landlord gave the new organization free rent for two months.
“It’s been really, really amazing to see everything come together,” Pruitt said.
A fundraising event took place in October, and people not only supported the new center with their money, but also with their time. The center was christened Abundant Life Pregnancy Resource Center and now has about 30 volunteers.
“God was in it all,” Pruitt said. “We’re six months in and our doors are open. It’s been absolutely amazing to watch!”
Prior to opening, Pruitt traveled to another pregnancy center located about 30 minutes away from Athens. She wanted to learn more about operating such as facility and see services in action. She received a surprise during that visit.
“The director told me, ‘We’ve been praying for Athens … because we have a lot of clients that come from Athens,’” Pruitt said. “All of the neighboring counties have a PRC (pregnancy resource center), but we didn’t have one in our county – now we do! We are meeting a need.”
The center, located a short distance from a community college, is open two days a week. Within the first three days, the phone began to ring.
“I think with the pro-life movement happening and the Texas heartbeat bill and all the other things that are happening, I think it was just God’s timing for this to happen right now,” Pruitt said.
Creating awareness, preparing for clients
Pruitt and her volunteers are working to generate awareness in their community about the new pregnancy resource center. A local media story recently ran that was picked up by Yahoo Sports. Volunteers distributed flyers in the community. The center has a Facebook page and a website, thanks to one volunteer who works in web design and interior decorating.
“God has brought us so many talented people,” Pruitt said. “It’s mind-blowing!”
“A woman in our church designed our website and our brochures, and she designed our boutique – it looks like a boutique,” Pruitt continued. “She said, ‘I want it to be an experience for them …’ and it’s just beautiful!”
The center is experiencing a lot of support from Faith Fellowship and other local churches. An event hosted through a women’s group brought in baby supplies
“Now we have an abundance of diapers and wipes,” Pruitt said.
The center also received numerous clothing items.
“We have a lot of stuff we want to give away to people to help them get started or continue on their parenting journey,” Pruitt said.
“We are not a storehouse,” she said. “We’ve been given these items to pass along to others, and that is what we’re doing.”
The organization’s name, Abundant Life Pregnancy Resource Center, comes from John 10:10. In that scripture verse Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
Sharing the love of Christ with clients along with the hope and abundant life He offers is a priority for Pruitt and her staff.
“Our goal is to give them practical resources to make life-affirming choices and then, after making a decision to parent, learning how to become a really successful parent,” she added. “That’s my biggest passion after the Gospel – how can we help you be successful?”
A former foster mother, Pruitt knows many families don’t experience that success, and she wants to change that trajectory. In addition to offering free pregnancy tests, Abundant Life Pregnancy Resource Center provides pregnancy options counseling, community referrals, and parenting classes using the Bright Course curriculum.
Pruitt also has vision for the future of the pregnancy center. An abortion recovery program is scheduled to begin in the New Year, and becoming a medical pregnancy resource center, offering ultrasound, is a dream for the future.
She also hopes to offer workshops, not only for center clients, but for the community. Practical topics and relevant programs to help single moms and families are envisioned, she said, like CPR, car maintenance, cooking, and budgeting.
“I want to have really practical things that help the people in our community,” Pruitt said.
Responding to the needs of women and families in Athens, highlighting and sharing about the love of Christ – Pruitt and the volunteers at Abundant Life Pregnancy Resource Center are providing hope, and the opportunity for abundant life, one woman and one step at a time.
Editor’s note. This appeared at Pregnancy Help News and is reposted with permission.