Support group coming of age

Coming to the start of their second year in operation, Birthright is a local non-profit organization helping those without support. Their mission is to create a safe environment for those affected by pregnancy related issues by providing confidential, non-judgmental friendship and support.

Birthright executive director Lois Hutcheson shows off some of the baby clothes available for mothers in need.

Coming to the start of their second year in operation, Birthright is a local non-profit organization helping those without support. Their mission is to create a safe environment for those affected by pregnancy related issues by providing confidential, non-judgmental friendship and support.

The organization is run by six committee members and 17 volunteers who meet monthly to train and learn about one another’s experiences with clients to build the Birthright vision.

They help clients connect with community professionals, assist with post-abortion recovery, and offer pregnancy tests and supplies for birth mothers. They also suggest appropriate government agencies, and business and community contacts that can help such as legal aid, victims assistance, SOWINS, income assistance and BC Housing.

In the past year, they have served over 40 individuals and families and have about six to eight new clients every month.

“Sometimes you don’t realize how good you have it,” said Lois Hutcheson, executive director of Birthright who came to the organization at its launch in June 2010. “For the ones that don’t have support, we give them a hand up.”

Located at 200 Bennett Ave., the house is owned by Penticton’s Catholic churches who are lending the property to the Birthright organization. The house has been an ongoing renovation project where many individuals and businesses from the community have donated their time and materials to transform the house into a warm, friendly atmosphere filled with free amenities such as clothes, books and supplies.

The first big fundraiser for the organization is now underway in what they are calling the Baby Bottle campaign, where dozens of baby bottles have been handed out throughout the community to be filled with donations and returned.

Hutcheson says goals for the upcoming year include finishing the renovations for the basement and building a small community garden in the back yard.

They are having their first annual general meeting June 16 at 1 p.m. where anyone from the community is encouraged to attend. Birthright is open on Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. or by appointment.