Lauren Robinson said these days, “we live in a world where the closest abortion clinic is at the end of your driveway.” Even if a woman lives in an abortion ban state like Alabama, the abortion pill can come right to her mailbox.
So Robinson is praying that the new location of Hope Family Services — a Sav-A-Life pregnancy resource center in Jacksonville — will use proximity in a way that saves lives and families.
Its new office, owned by West Side Baptist Church, is right next to the Jacksonville State University campus.
“We’re really hoping that because of where it is, basically any JSU student can walk there reasonably,” said Robinson, who served as HFS’ interim director until moving into a marketing role recently.
The vision started earlier this year when West Side Baptist purchased a building that had formerly housed a grocery store. Pastor David Haynes said they decided to name it the Hope Building, having no idea Hope Family Services would later move into it.
Around that same time, the city’s First Baptist Church had sold its north campus and combined into one congregation for the time being at their EaglePoint campus, which had also housed Hope Family Services since 2012. And Haynes said everyone began to see how God was moving everything into place.
“We had paid for the building upfront, and we unanimously voted to lease that new building to them for $1 a year for 49 years,” Haynes said.
“It’s been one miracle after another. It’s been the Lord’s doing; we couldn’t have worked it out like this.”
Volunteers from West Side have worked hard to get the building ready to go before the school year, Robinson said. “The church has done so much, and we’re very thankful for that.”
The space still needs interior walls, but they’ve already moved in and started using it for parenting classes and as a space for moms and dads to come and “shop” for baby items. They’re hoping to get the remodel finished before the school year starts.
“There’s definitely a need on college campuses,” Robinson said.
“You’ve got to meet that college student right where they are in those moments where they’re making critical decisions.”
Hope Family Services offers pregnancy testing and ultrasounds as well as counseling for both mothers and fathers. They also offer post-abortive care small groups, infant loss classes and parenting classes.
Their clinic is for everyone in the area — being close to the college campus is just an added dimension they’re thankful for.
“It makes pregnancy testing and ultrasounds more available for students, but if they enroll in our classes, it’s going to make it so much easier for them to get there for those too,” she said.
“It will be a big deal for people on campus. We’re hoping to save lives; that’s our goal.”
In need of volunteers
Robinson said they’re in “desperate need of men and women volunteers of all ages and all walks of life and talents” who can help with everything from counseling to cleaning the facilities to serving in a medical capacity. They could also always use donations of baby items, water and snacks for their clients.
She said their center also has positions open right now for anyone interested — a new director as well as a male mentor and a coordinator for their parenting classes.