Julie Goodwin knows what she’s talking about when she says Haliburton County is a generous community.
For the past 16 years, Goodwin has been at the helm of the Pregnancy Care and Family Support Centre in Haliburton. The organization provides a wide array of services and supports to pregnant women and families struggling to get by, whether financially or emotionally, offering a helping hand at a time of great need.
And while those supports are carried out by staff and volunteers from the centre, they are paid for by the local community.
“The really neat thing about our centre is that we are completely 100 per cent donor supported,” Goodwin said. “That has allowed us to craft and formulate programs that work for us, and work for our clients without having to answer to an overarching funder or government body.”
Since May 2006, the centre has seen 456 individuals pass through its doors seeking assistance. While some only visited once, many others made a regular habit of stopping by. Goodwin said the centre adopts a no questions asked policy, and clients are welcome any time during operating hours.
The facility, located on the lower level of Glecoff’s Family Store, is open Tuesday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“When a client comes through the centre’s door, they will find a safe, compassionate environment, where they can ask questions and receive meaningful help and support. Their circumstances may be difficult, but we are here to help and convey the message that they do not have to face their situation alone,” Goodwin said.
The centre also does what it can to assist clients financially. While they do not simply give out money, Goodwin said they often donate children’s clothing, toys and items such as cribs and car seats to those in need.
Demand has only increased since the onset of the pandemic, Goodwin said. In 2021, the organization saw 61 clients – 14 firsttimers – across 388 visits. While pivoting to ensure this increased demand has been met, Goodwin said the centre has introduced a new ‘moms fellowship group’ to help those who have felt isolated due to lockdowns and COVID-19 restrictions.
“COVID has been crazy. People have withdrawn, and so we’ve been really concerned about the mental health of our clients. So, now in our centre, we have a space where clients are encouraged to come in, bring their kids to play and meet up with one another, because we all need friends and a community during times like this,” Goodwin said.
The centre held its spring fundraiser at Lakeside Church June 4, raising $1,000. Goodwin said they are also running their annual baby bottle fundraiser, where they challenge community members to fill up a baby bottle or two with money and drop it off at the centre. Bottles are available for pick up during regular hours, and at 14 churches across the County.
With a budget of $74,000 this year, Goodwin said the centre will need every dollar it can muster if it is to continue meeting the demands of its clients.
“MP Jamie Schmale visited us recently, and he asked ‘if you didn’t exist, who would do this?’ and while there might be bits of help here and there from different organizations, we are truly unique in what we do. If we disappeared tomorrow, there would be a lot of people in need,” Goodwin said.
For more information, visit haliburtonpregnancycentre.ca..