Amidst destruction by fire, serving customers remains “our number one priority”
A pregnancy assistance ministry in Knoxville, Tennessee remains committed to serving women and families despite being displaced by a fire.
Eastern Tennessee Catholic Charities (RCEC) The main Knoxville office was a total loss after a fire on Sunday, November 28. In addition to administrative offices, the CCETN Knoxville Pregnancy Assistance Center has been affected, as have other CCETN Columbus Home Assisting Parents and Hope Kitchen programs.
the Pregnancy Help Center has served clients with virtual lessons in the meantime, said program manager Sandy Davidson, and met clients in the parking lot with hardware items.
“We are always serving customers,” Davidson said. Pregnancy Help News.
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The pregnancy aid center lost its baby room, three offices, classrooms, a conference room, a breastfeeding room and a copy room in the fire, which was determined to be a criminal fire. An investigation is underway.
Davidson was home preparing for work when she learned the building had been destroyed by fire.
Having been in the ministry for 20 years and the Knoxville Pregnancy Assistance Center being the first pregnancy assistance center now in five locations, Davidson said the news had touched the heart.
“I was so in shock,” she said. “The devastation was just incredible. It was just such a loss.
The police were alerted by an anti-theft alarm in the center around 10 p.m. according to at the local NBC 10 News branch. When officers arrived at the scene, the building was on fire. It took another two hours to put out the fire.
“The blessing if there is one is that a building has burned down and it can be rebuilt,” said Lisa Healy, executive director of Catholic Charities of East Tennessee. “The blessing is that no one was hurt.”
The Catholic Charities administrative office has moved to another of the CCETN locations, while the Program Coordinator and Pregnancy Support Center Case Coordinator are currently operating out of All Saints Catholic Church in Knoxville. .
The Pregnancy Support Center is looking for a space to continue providing services in the area as they undergo what appears to be a 12-18 month rebuild on the building. Although they have been able to continue to meet the physical and educational needs of clients, offering pregnancy tests will be an issue until there is a replacement location. There are interim operational requirements and Davidson said things are “changing by the minute.”
Healy affirmed the work of Catholic Charities and the Pregnancy Help Center.
“Our work gives life,” Healy told Pregnancy Help News. “The Lord has us. We are really doing the job that we are supposed to be doing.
The Knoxville Pregnancy Support Center is one of five CCETN Pregnancy Support Centers in the Diocese of Knoxville, which has 36 counties, with other centers in Chattanooga, Johnson City, LaFollette and Newcomb. . The Rachel Project is also part of the services offered. Plans for the center before the fire included adding a sixth location, adding adoption into programming, adding an ultrasound clinic and mobile ultrasound units. The hope is that with the reconstruction, the pregnancy assistance center will be even better equipped to meet the needs of clients.
The ministry has been strengthened by the support and prayers of the local community, Healy said. Local entities and Heartbeat International have reached out to help.
“God is love,” she said. “It does good for all tragedies. He makes all things good and righteous.
“We appreciate the support from the community,” Davidson said. “It makes you feel like you have a support group when a tragedy occurs. So it’s a blessing.
Amidst the destruction are visible signs of hope.
Four objects remained unscathed from the fire despite the destruction of everything around them. The objects – which were made of wood – were two crosses and a rosary, which had been hung on the wall, and a statue of the Blessed Mother, which was sitting on a desk. The Bishop of Knoxville, Richard Stika, collected the rosary, which will be hung on the wall during the dedication of the new building.
Despite the setback, work to help pregnant women and families continues.
“This is our number one priority,” Davidson said. Pregnancy Help News. “And we will continue to do so. “
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To help with the rebuilding effort, donations can be made online HERE, and checks can be made out to Catholic Charities, noting the rebuilding of PHC, and mailed to 119 Dameron Ave, Knoxville, TN, 37917.
Editor’s Note: Heartbeat International manages the latest news on pregnancy aid.