"I would hope that people walk away [from the event] with the sense of the reality of crisis pregnancies in our county and their role in how they can support women making a positive choice through their time, donations and efforts," said Randi Winn McSwain, director of pregnancy services for the Women's Resource Center. "Because despite the fact that there are no abortion clinics in Bartow County, there are still Bartow County citizens who are driving to Atlanta to have abortions.
"We want to ... provide a place for them to come to and take their [pregnancy] test and to talk and counsel with a trained volunteer and also to meet the needs as far as baby items are concerned because raising a baby is expensive. A lot of times our clients want to abort because they are afraid they can't afford a child. So we don't want to just say, 'You shouldn't abort' but 'You shouldn't abort and we can help you take care of this baby, not just help you make the choice.'"
McSwain said Walk for Life will provide residents a local venue in which to gather, for those unable to travel to the March for Life event at the nation's capital Jan. 24. Held on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Washington, D.C., march seeks to bring awareness to lawmakers on the issue of abortion and the participants' opposition to the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in 1973 that legalized the medical procedure. The Women's Resource Center's inaugural benefit was organized a year after its executive director, Cindy Smith, joined an estimated 300,000 fellow pro-life advocates at the national event Jan. 22, 2009.
Entry fees for Walk for Life are $100 for an individual registration, $250 for a team of two to 10 people and $500 for a group of 11 to 20. While individuals are encouraged to walk at least an hour, groups can divide the responsibilities between their members. During the event, there also will be live entertainment and a silent auction, with items ranging from vacations to photography portrait packages.
With it expecting to generate $15,000, Walk for Life also will serve as a fundraiser for the Cartersville nonprofit. Formed in 1989, the Women's Resource Center met 805 needs in 2010, presenting clients with complimentary items ranging from baby formula and diapers to car seats and clothing up to size 3T. Last year, the faith-based organization also provided 228 free pregnancy tests and assisted more than 200 people with parenting skills.
Located at 18 and 20 Douglas St., the Women's Resource Center also features Molly's Ministry, which promotes adoption through education and Adoption Discovery classes.
"[The proceeds] will go to our general budget at the center," McSwain said, adding the event raised $8,900 in 2010. "Every dime will go toward the Women's Resource Center. The reason there's such a need is [that] because we are pro-life and a ministry we are not eligible for government funding. So we have to raise all of our financial backing."
As of Tuesday, 51 people have signed up to participate in Walk for Life, one of whom is Wendy Russell. A volunteer for the Women's Resource Center, she is passionate about supporting the nonprofit and the services it provides to local women.
"I just feel real strongly about life, about women choosing life and I want to be able to support the center," Russell said. "So I'm walking with a group from my church and our church did that also last year together. I do it with my husband and my son who's 9 years old because we want him to be able to [participate] and take a stand with us for life."
Further details about the Women's Resource Center can be obtained by calling 770-382-7224 or visiting www.bartowbabies.org.