By S.L. Hansen
LINCOLN (SNR) - Beginning April 28, students at Pius X High School and St. Mary Elementary School in Lincoln will start collecting money in baby bottles to help fund a Birthright billboard directly across the street from the local Planned Parenthood abortion facility.
Birthright is an international, non-profit charitable organization that provides free, confidential, emotional and practical support to women and girls who are dealing with an unplanned pregnancy.
“Our purpose is to help mothers by being that alternative to abortion,” said Birthright volunteer Connie Munguia of Cristo Rey Parish in Lincoln.
The organization – which is managed and run entirely by volunteers – provides everything from pregnancy tests and prenatal vitamins, to referrals to doctors and other services. They also give mothers a large layette with clothing and other supplies when a baby is born, plus ongoing support through the first year of the baby’s life.
“We’re all doing what we can to save babies,” Munguia said.
Everything Birthright offers women is supplied by donors.
“We survive only by what the Lord has given us, through schools and churches and private entities,” said Munguia.
Last December, it occurred to her that a specific fundraising campaign could help Birthright purchase the use of one of the two billboards that face Planned Parenthood’s front door.
“That’s the culture of death right there, and to see an alternative right across the street, that’s really important,” she said. “If a girl decides, ‘I’m not going to have an abortion,’ as soon as she walks out, she will see the alternative and the number to call.”
The price of running a billboard at that location is $1,000 for four weeks, plus a $150 set-up fee. Munguia knew she’d have to be creative to come up with those dollars.
She contacted Molly Milana in Pius X High School’s campus ministry department to see about having students collect change and bills to deposit in baby bottles placed in classrooms throughout the school.
Milana was open to the idea, but the timing wasn’t quite right. Munguia has been collecting funds from other donors to put the billboard up in May.
However, the campus ministry at Pius X High School remained interested. Munguia and Milana settled on setting up the campaign to be conducted April 28-May 2.
Munguia also approached St. Mary School and found the staff willing to participate through the end of the school year.
The student funds will be used to place the billboard in September – although Mrs. Munguia said she’d be thrilled to be able to purchase two or even three four-week placements.
“I’d really like to challenge all the Catholic schools if they would be willing to do the same thing,” Mrs. Munguia said. “I really feel this billboard is going to be so, so powerful.”
Anyone who wishes to provide the remaining dollars needed for the May placement of Birthright’s billboard, and any school who wants to host their own baby bottle fundraising drive may contact Mrs. Munguia through Birthright at (402) 466-2609.