Pilot story and photos

by Marjorie Woodfin

CRESCENT CITY - The Del Norte County Fairgrounds convention hall was packed Oct. 21 for the Pregnancy Care Center fund-raising banquet.

More than 500 supporters from Del Norte and Curry counties attended and Executive Director Teri Brunner said the affair netted approximately $28,000 in cash and pledges to help keep the care centers open.

The banquet each fall is the major fundraiser for both of the Pregnancy Care Centers in Crescent City and Brookings. This year the group celebrated achievement of last year's goal to open a Pregnancy Care Center in Brookings.

The room was decorated festively in a patriotic theme of red, white and blue, and the music greeting those entering, provided by Joyful Noise, was upbeat and lively.

Members of youth groups from Crescent City, Smith River and Brookings also dressed in red, white and blue, helped with the serving and kept the buffet lines moving.

The Pregnancy Care Centers - providing assistance to those involved in crisis pregnancies, with counseling, layettes, parenting classes, clothing, and needed supplies and furniture - also sponsor activities for teens, encouraging abstinence and healthy life styles along with fun and fellowship.

Young people who have been helped by the care centers shared experiences, and participants in the different services made available by the care centers explained how needed help is delivered.

The keynote speaker was Chaplain Ray Guinta from Sacramento, Calif., who shared stories of his experiences ministering to people involved in the Oklahoma City bombing and at Ground Zero following the 9/11 attacks.

Guinta said all people in crisis, whether from terrible disasters or a personal crisis, need three things - prayer, faith and hope. He encouraged those in attendance to give of themselves and their money to support the services offered by the pregnancy care centers.

The program opened with music and ended with music - a kazoo rendition of andquot;Star Spangled Bannerandquot;by the young people who helped serve the meal.

Plans are already under way for next year's banquet. The speaker will be author Francine Rivers.

andquot;It's not too soon to sign up to be a table sponsor for next fall,andquot; Brunner said. andquot;We already have a number of reservations.andquot;

For information, phone (707) 464-3233 for the Crescent Pregnancy City Care Center or (541) 469-1846 to reach the Brookings center.

Laurie Reynolds, client services director for the Brookings center, said that the office is not open all hours and encouraged anyone needing information or help should leave a message and the call will be returned.

Both Brunner and Reynolds emphasized that, no matter what the problem, hope and help are available and people at the centers are eager to provide them.

Reynolds said there are training classes scheduled for this month and invited anyone interested in volunteering at the center to attend.

The classes will be at the Brookings care center, 607 Pacific Ave., from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday and Wednesday and 8 a.m. to noon on Wednesday. It is helpful to attend all three days if possible, Reynolds said. There is a $35 charge for the manual.