Thirty people bearing brightly colored balloons and handmade signs took to the streets of downtown Geneva July 12 to show their support for life.
The purpose of the two-mile walk was twofold: to show support for the unborn and to raise money for the Care Net Pregnancy Care Center of the Finger Lakes. The center, which is located at 551 S. Exchange St. in Geneva, provides abortion alternatives to women and their families, including free pregnancy tests, ultrasounds between the sixth and 14th weeks of pregnancy, support for pregnant women who choose adoption, parenting classes and referrals to other services.
The walk raised $3,500 for the center, which has operated in Geneva for the past 20 years, according to Doreen Teed, interim director. The Walk for Life has been an annual fixture for most of those years, with the exception of last year. The walk is one of a handful of fundraisers, including an annual golf tournament and a banquet held each December, that account for about 40 percent of the not-for-profit center’s annual budget, Teed said. Another 40 percent of the center’s operating budget comes from a small base of churches and individuals who make monthly donations, and the remainder of the center’s funding comes from individuals who make one-time donations, she added.
"Churches are our biggest supporters. Usually we have a lot of people from churches that walk," Teed said.
This year was no exception, she said, noting that the adult participant who raised the most money was Kathy Peters, a parishioner of St. Francis and St. Clare Parish in Waterloo and Seneca Falls. The prize for the teen participant who raised the most money went to a 12-year-old girl who raised $1,100. Teed said she was happy to see quite a few families and young mothers walking with their children, although she hopes the walk will attract more teens in future years.
"It was wonderful. We had a good representation of Catholics there," noted Peters, who donated her prize — an Amazon Kindle — to another charitable cause.
Nonetheless, Peters said she hopes to help get even more Catholics involved in the walk next year. With just 30 walkers, this year’s event was fairly small but still was very successful, Teed said.
"The nice thing about the walk is we incorporated it with a prayer walk. We walked two miles through the streets and prayed for different places along the way," she explained.
Dale Andrews, pastor of the Geneva Assembly of God, led the walkers in prayer as they passed several key buildings, including the fire and police departments and city hall.
"Then we stopped in front of Geneva General (Hospital) and prayed for all the doctors, nurses and patients. It was beautiful," Peters added.
The walkers passed out bracelets to the teens they met along the way and gave balloons to children who were sitting on their front porches with their parents, she said. The walk provided a wonderful opportunity to spread the word about the center and its mission, she added.
"We would visit with people on their porches and say what we were doing, and most people didn’t even know about the (Care Net) Pregnancy Care Center," Peters said.
This community interaction is just one of the many reasons Teed is pleased with the results of this year’s walk.
"We were able to fully explain what we do, so in my opinion that’s very successful," she said. "We just were able to walk through the community and pray in the community, and when you pray and send up God’s words, that’s always a good thing."
EDITOR’S NOTE: To learn more about the Care Net Pregnancy Care Center of the Finger Lakes, visit www.imightbepregnant.com or call 1-800-712-HELP (4357).