The Knights of Columbus based at St. Elizabeth Parish in Upper Uwchlan recently presented a $15,400 donation to Birthright of Coatesville. Half of the amount was raised through the members' personal donations, while the remainder was matched by an anonymous donor.
Knights of Columbus member Charlie Knott explained that the annual donation drive for Birthright began in 2014. "That first year, Knights of Columbus raised more than $5,000, and an anonymous member agreed to match the donations," he said.
Knott explained that the recent donation is part of the Knights' ongoing effort to support Birthright, a nonprofit organization that provides services to expectant mothers. "There are 180 members in the council, and they give monetary donations. Others buy diapers and deliver them to Birthright," he noted.
In addition to Birthright, the Knights take part in other community service projects throughout the year. They sponsor a Red Cross blood drive and provide volunteers for the Ludwig's Corner Horse Show.
At St. Elizabeth Parish, the Knights sponsor family activities such as a basketball free throw contest, a golf outing and a family picnic. They also support the Lord's Pantry of Downingtown and St. John's Hospice of Philadelphia and take part in Right to Life activities. More information about the group is available at http://www.kofc13141.org.
Birthright is a nondenominational pregnancy care center that provides free and confidential pregnancy testing for women, regardless of age, race or religious affiliation. Clients also are given referrals to various organizations that provide medical insurance, free food, housing, adoption services and related needs.
Birthright also offers free maternity clothes to its clients, and once the babies are born, new moms receive baby clothes for up to two years. "We also provide formula and diapers," said Mary Schafer, chair of the Birthright board of directors. "We give (new mothers) a '(baby) shower in a bag' when a baby is born, (which contains) bottles, baby wash, blankets (and other items), and we continue to provide support in those areas if we have the supplies." Birthright works with other agencies that provide car seats and portable play yards.
In addition, expectant mothers are given information about educational classes offered locally, including at Harcum College, which has a satellite school in Coatesville. "We strongly encourage the women to get their GED or to get into college," Schafer said. "We want women to make it on their own and be successful."
Birthright of Coatesville is an international organization. Coatesville is one of 300 chapters worldwide. The community is invited to support Birthright by donating supplies, including diapers, wipes, formula, blankets, baby wash, baby lotion and shampoo.
Volunteers are also needed. "We will train volunteers to provide support to the mothers," Schafer said, noting volunteers can assist the organization in other ways, as well. "A lot of the churches did Angel Trees for Christmas in support of us. We got a lot of donations, and they need to be (sorted) and put away."
Birthright is open on Tuesdays from 1 to 4 p.m., on Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. and on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., as well as on the first Saturday of the month from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Spanish-speaking staff members are available on Wednesdays starting at 11 a.m.
Before stopping in, women should call the office to be sure a volunteer is available. "If people would like to volunteer their time, we would like to be open more hours in the future," Schafer added.
Birthright is located at 529 E. Lincoln Highway (Business Route 30), Coatesville. For more information, to donate items or to volunteer, readers may call 610-384-3020. More information is also available at http://birthright.org/en/landingpage/lp-coatesville.