By GREG RUSSELL, Register Staff Writer
A local pro-life organization, whose budgetary needs are ever-changing and always a struggle to meet, are nonetheless a leading force with the services provided.
All Babies Born Alive (ABBA) Executive Director Sandee Feyereisen said her Gainesville-based agency helped nearly 7,500 clients during 2012.
This total, she said, may have surpassed any other pregnancy resource center in Texas during the past year.
And as a non-governmental organization, there is no limit to the clientele who may come looking for aid.
“We have a heavy demand on us,” Feyereisen said Wednesday. “We do not receive government funding, so all of our funding is raised locally. It’s neighbor helping neighbor, literally.”
The ABBA Women’s Center provides pregnancy testing, sonograms, certification training and practical resources for new and expecting mothers such as diapers, formula and baby clothing. The director said that by necessity, her Gainesville ABBA offers these resources for women in Cooke and Grayson counties and beyond; others come from southern Oklahoma and Montague County, while others make trips from Denton since her organization offers classes unavailable where they live.
Fundraisers account for most of the agency’s ability to operate. ABBA’s annual budget veers into the six-figure range, Feyereisen added, and it’s difficult to project what any coming year will require since the clientele growth rate continues to swell despite a relatively small staff that is mostly volunteer.
“We don’t have any set amount and if we don’t get enough, we have to have multiple fundraisers,” Feyereisen said.
But despite the increasing burden, the director added, the organization never refuses help, even to women who have already had abortions.
“There will always be women with personal needs — in maybe a domestic violence situation who need assistance for a period of time,” Feyereisen said. “We’re open to anyone and will help anyone. But, of course, we want to see families whole and safe and happy and we do our best to accommodate those goals. And if they’ve had an abortion and they have emotional conflicts about and regrets, and seem to not be able to shake depression or regret, we will pay for them to go on a retreat with licensed counselors.
“We want to see them whole,” she said. “We’re just trying to meet the needs of women and give them parenting skills and keep families together.”
About the next fundraiser
ABBA Women’s Center annual fundraising dinner and silent auction is set for 6 p.m. Saturday, March 2, at Centennial Hall in Lindsay. Tickets are still available for $25 per person at the ABBA facility at 214 N. Taylor St. in Gainesville. Sponsorships are available for program listings or anonymous gifts at the “bronze” level of $125; “silver” level of $250; “gold” level of $500; “diamond” level of $1,000; and “platinum” level of $5,000 or more. ABBA is also receiving donations for the silent auction which can be delivered to the ABBA office from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, up through Feb. 28.
This year’s event will include an awards presentation for all area councils of The Knights of Columbus for achieving the goal of a “matched funds” grant for $50,000 donated to purchase a new ultrasound machine for ABBA, installed in January. Lorene Sandmann will be recognized for her service as a board member since the center’s inception in 1994, and for her years of volunteer service as a peer counselor.
Bill Black, chairman of the ABBA Board of Directors, will deliver an address and serve as master of ceremonies for the event. Special music guests are Greg and Kathy Bowers of Plano, and catering will be by Donna Hertel of Sarah’s On The Square, with homemade desserts donated.
For more information, call (940) 668-6391.
Statistics about ABBA
According to Carol Everett of the nonprofit organization The Heidi Group, ABBA Women’s Center ranked third in the state of Texas among pregnancy resource centers for number of client visits during 2011, with a total of 6,038 visits, and ranked first in educational classes. Although 2012 statistics are not all reported, ABBA Women’s Center reported an increase of client visits for a total of 7,493 and may have surpassed all other pregnancy resource centers in the state of Texas and is projected to rank first in the state for educational classes.
ABBA Women’s Center will be recognized for their work in the Texas House of Representatives on March 25, and in the Texas Senate on March 26, 2013, and will be present for a rally on the Capitol steps meeting with Texas elected officials for a box lunch and office visits. The rally includes a briefing on the success of the Texas sonogram bill’s success and current pro-life legislation. — Event information and statistics provided by Sandee Feyereisen.