The Prairie Pregnancy Centre in Portage gained a boost to their cause in the amount of $3,000 from the MCC Thrift Shop and Furniture Plus.

Executive director Mary Loewen says MCC garnered a record crowd as well as a record income on their day for MCC Days. 

"One of the volunteers said there were new people in the store and they figured they were there because we were there, so that's cool," says Loewen. 

The allotment each organization gets is the same $3,000 for any given MCC Day, and Loewen outlines how their share will be used.

"It will go into the general operating budget," says Loewen. "But we are blessed. Just in this last year, we hired another staff member. So, the funding will perhaps go toward her salary -- a bookkeeper and receptionist. Already we're seeing how much we love her and love having her there. It seems like whenever we hire a new staff member, things get busier."

Loewen says her name is Brittany Sawatzky and explains that Sawatzky takes a little bit of the workload from all the others, making her a great fit for the organization. 

"She's come to fulfill that role and started in June, so we're appreciating her already," adds Loewen. 

Mary LoewenMary Loewen

She says the centre started up in March of 2018.

"Four years, I can't believe it," continues Loewen. "We acquired the property in June of 2016, so it's already six years that we've been planning and moving ahead with this, and it's been amazing. The support in the community has been so good in the churches and the businesses. Just last fall, we had an open house for some of the agencies in the community, too. We just want to partner with them where we can refer our clients to different things that are available in the community."

She notes the centre invited the businesses into their facility to look around, ask questions, and adds it was a great day. Loewen says they're planning to have a similar event in the near future. 

Loewen outlines their growth so far.

"We started with me as the executive director," adds Loewen. "Now we have an admin assistant, Dawn Bell. She came on almost right away. And then, just before COVID hit, we hired a client service director, Sharalee Randall. So, we have four staff and we have about nine active volunteers.  We couldn't do it without them. We want to do a volunteer appreciation next week."

She explains their elected board consists entirely of six volunteers. 

"We believe that a pregnancy, and especially an unplanned pregnancy, is such a big decision that people need all the information they can to make that decision," continues Loewen. "So, we're there. We offer compassionate help in a confidential way. All our services are free and anyone experiencing an unplanned pregnancy can come in. We are there to help them and give them factual, accurate information on all the options regarding their pregnancy. And then, whether they carry to term or not, we are there to support them after that."

Loewen thanks the community for its support, noting they had an increase in clients compared to last year.

"Many of them, with the rising cost of living, requested a lot more material goods, diapers, formula, and wipes," says Loewen. "We just had a little Facebook post for those kinds of needs and again, the community has been amazing and generous."

She adds the centre's happy to be in Portage, seeing as it's a great community to be a part of, and they're happy to serve everyone here.

They held their MCC Day on August 30.