Pregnancy care center serving mothers, families in 13 counties, 3 states

Published 3:59 pm Thursday, July 1, 2021

By TESSA REDMOND

Appalachian Pregnancy Care Center is serving as a light to families in eastern Kentucky, southern West Virginia, and western Virginia. For 14 years, APCC has encouraged and assisted women in carrying their babies to term and supported families postpartum.

“We provide a non-abortion alternative in cases of an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy,” said Kay Hammond, executive director of APCC. “Our mission is to save lives and help our clients be more productive citizens.”

APCC offers a range of services addressing the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of expectant mothers and their families. Pregnancy testing, peer counseling sessions, adoption education, and Care Net parenting classes are a few resources for pregnant women. APCC also offers abortion recovery services, referrals to other agencies in the community, grandparenting classes, and an Earn While You Learn program that equips parents with pregnancy education and material items for their baby.

“From the moment you walked in our doors, you’d feel welcomed. There would be no judgment on you. You would feel welcome; you would feel loved,” Hammond said.

Around 200 clients utilize APCC services each year. And while the pregnancy care center serves a wide range of clients, the presence of a university with both an optometry program and a medical school in the Pikeville area means that many are teenagers or young adults.

Clients wrestling with unplanned pregnancies face numerous pressures that impact their decision to carry their babies to term and motivate them to seek help from pregnancy care centers like APCC.

“With every girl I’ve ever done counseling with, the first thing is fear. Fear really and truly overwhelms them,” Hammond explained. “The things they’re thinking are: What will I do? What will my parents do? What will my church family do? What will my friends say?”

Many women also face economic concerns like being able to keep their job during pregnancy or financially support their child after birth. And many women wrestle with spiritual questions.

“I’ve heard so many girls say this: What will God think of me? Will God forgive me? What about my church family? Are they going to be accepting of me?” Hammond said.

Hammond added that churches in the pregnancy care center’s large community network have been incredibly supportive and accepting of young women facing unplanned pregnancies in their congregations. And APCC is able to refer expectant mothers and their support networks to local church bodies.

“I think Kentucky Baptists step up to the plate,” Hammond said. “KBC churches are our biggest supporters.”

In fact, APCC was first funded by local church collaboration. An experimental baby bottle drive sought the support of churches from different denominational backgrounds—and hundreds of bottles were returned to the fledgling ministry, filled with change.

“It was one of the first times in my life I had seen churches with different thoughts come together for one goal: to make sure there was life, to help these young girls and ladies who needed it,” said J.R. Blackburn, chairman of APCC’s board of directors.

Now APCC benefits from the support of both churches and businesses in the area, which provide the pregnancy care center with a significant volunteer base, financial donations, and material goods, such as diapers and wipes.

“When I think about the community support, it is just overwhelming,” Hammond said.

In addition to a yearly baby bottle drive, APCC also hosts a Banquet for Life that is attended by nearly 1,000 people. While COVID restrictions forced the event into a virtual format this spring, supporters raised $40,000 to support the work of APCC. And their next event—a golf tournament in June—quickly sold out.

According to Hammond, pregnancy care centers like APCC have been put in the spotlight when it comes to speaking up for the unborn — but they are not the only ones who can lend their voices to protect and defend life.

“The unborn are so important. They’re God’s creation and we need more people to be that voice.”

To learn more about Appalachian Pregnancy Care Center, visit appalachianpregnancycare.com.