Diocesan News

Birthright a ‘Give to Lincoln Day’ participant

LINCOLN (SNR) – Birthright of Lincoln will hold its annual Mother’s Day carnation sales at area churches May 14.

The money raised in the sales is used to send two volunteers to the national Birthright conference each June, so that no Birthright donations are used for this event.

Organizational funds for Birthright of Lincoln will be raised during the “Give to Lincoln Day” fund drive May 18.

Give To Lincoln Day is a 24-hour event that encourages everyone to contribute to Lincoln and Lancaster County nonprofit organizations through a single, online giving platform May 18. It is coordinated by Lincoln Community Foundation, in partnership with local nonprofit organizations. Every donation makes a bigger impact on Give To Lincoln Day because nonprofits also get a proportional share of a $350,000 match fund.

Birthright assists women facing unplanned pregnancies, offering love, friendship, and support to women who are pregnant or think they may be pregnant. They help women make realistic plans for their future, and offer information and referrals to help clients meet their emotional and material needs.

The organization is recognizing longtime chapter director this month as she retires from more than 33 years of service.

Paula Allen started out volunteering at Birthright in 1983 in Broken Bow, a small town of about 3,000. The members started out with answering calls in people’s homes in the evenings. In 1984, Allen moved to Lincoln, where Joy York, who was the regional director for Birthright and also the director for Lincoln, asked Paula if she would be co-director. She agreed and eventually became the director as York continued as regional director.

The first offices in Lincoln changed due to cost. They are currently located off 56th and O streets.

“The location, utilities, amount of physical help and advertising of who we are and what we do,” said volunteer Connie Munguia, “have all dictated where we have our office and how much we can help our clients.”

When Allen first started in Lincoln, she noted, the donated financial help to keep Birthright running was through the Apostles for Life, Altar Society organizations and many Catholic parishes.

“Although Birthright is nondenominational, it really had been supported heavily by the Catholic Church,” she said.

She said diocesan priest Father Gary Gross, serving as a military chaplain in Fort Irwin, Calif., has been a staunch supporter of Birthright by seeking donations from his parishes in Virginia and California. Father Gross’s mother had been a supporter of Birthright and he carried this into his own life. He praised the Lincoln Birthright chapter volunteers recently, saying,

“Thanks for being the hands of Christ for these girls who need love and support.”

Birthright’s monthly operating costs are $1,900. In addition to advertising at a campus bus stop and office rental, $750 is used in keeping billboards posted adjacent to the Planned Parenthood facility.

“Think of it this way,” Munguia said, “donating to Birthright you are really helping in saving babies’ lives as well.”

Allen is also retiring from her profession at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she has worked for 30 years. She said in her retirement she will spend time “making memories” with her husband, three children and grandchildren, “and just having fun.”

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