By Hannah Richardson
Friends and supporters of the local Women’s Resource Center (WRC) gathered in the Natchitoches Events Center to celebrate life, along with the center’s various efforts, during the Celebration of Life Gala Thursday, Sept. 16. After hosting a virtual event last year due to Covid-19, it was a nice return to normalcy with the return of an in-person gala. With Covid-19 still spreading in the community, several safety measures were in place.
The center is a pregnancy help medical clinic nonprofit organization that provides free, confidential service to local women who might be pregnant and are pregnant. The WRC staff and numerous volunteers provide information, education and support to those that are in need. Some of the many services the center provides to expectant mothers, and even fathers, include prenatal and parenting information, community referrals, free pregnancy tests and limited obstetrical ultrasounds, parents and breastfeeding classes and more.
At the gala, the crowd was welcomed by Steve McAlister of Westside Baptist Church. Bro. Tommy Rush of First Baptist Church gave the invocation. Buddy Wood, President of the WRC Board of Directors, also shared a few words. He said, after serving for 13 years, one of his most memorable aspects of the gala is the testimonies shared with supporters.
Videos of testimonies were shown, with women sharing their success stories with the Women’s Resource Center. One woman shared how much these services helped her prepare during her pregnancy, and how she wished she knew about the center when she had her previous children. Another said the WRC had exceeded her expectations and the help she received was unbelievable.
For WRC Executive Director Jennifer Luna, this was her second Celebration of Life Gala and the first one held in-person. She thanked guests for being the “supporting backbone” of their work and for supporting a local organization that saves the lives of children. “Every person in our community is part of the solution, because together we are solving great crises,” said Luna. “A person is a person, no matter how small, their ability, their size, the dependency, their age, or their worth.”
Well-traveled author and nationally known speaker with a passion for life, Mike G. Williams, served as the keynote speaker. He shared his personal adoption story, with humorous and heartfelt messages that really captured the crowd. After Father Derek Ductoe gave the benediction, guests were treated to a five-star dinner provided by Lasyone’s catering.
After the gala, Luna stated, given the Covid-19 guidelines, the event was extremely successful. “About half of the attendees were people that have never attended our Gala before, which is incredible news,” she said. “We want to continue to reach more people and share our mission. This is such impactful work that truly seeps into every corner of a pregnant woman’s life, and in turn, the outcomes for families all over Natchitoches and beyond. It is such a blessing to know that everyone in the community has the opportunity to be part of that. We understand that many of our regular attendees opted out this year due to Covid and we cannot wait to hopefully get everyone back together in 2022!”
To view the full gala video, visit www.wrcnatchitoches.org/gala. For more information on the resource center, visit wrcnatchitoches.org, call 318-357-8888, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.