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Ripon, Manteca KofC help buy ultrasound

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Ripon, Manteca KofC help buy ultrasound

John Gilmore, left, Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus Manteca (St. Anthony of Padua) council, and Niles Anderson, right, of the Ripon Knights of Columbus (St. Patrick’s Church) present check...

ROSE ALBANO RISSO/The Bulletin


POSTED August 27, 2014 12:42 a.m.

The Manteca Pregnancy Help Center is marking three high-water marks this year.

This is the all-volunteer organization’s 25th year of operation.

It is moving to a larger facility in November – from its 1,800-square-foot current location in the Bobson Center on North Main at the corner of Edison Avenue (next to the Bank of Stockton) to the Prudential California Realty building where it will occupy 3,500 square feet of office space.

And sometime before the end of the year, the non-profit faith-based group which offers services that include free pregnancy tests, peer counseling and parenting and life-skill classes, will finally get to purchase an ultrasound machine for which it has been raising funds for during the last two years. The medical equipment is the last item that the center’s Mobile Medical Unit needs to get it under way.

Donations from the Knights of Columbus councils in Manteca (St. Anthony of Padua) and Ripon (St. Patrick’s Church), with matching funds from the religious fraternity’s national Supreme Council  will make it possible now for the organization to purchase the ultrasound unit which comes with a $35,000 price tag. It will be placed on order this week, said Janice Laplume, Pregnancy Help Center’s long-time volunteer director.

John Gilmore, Grand Knight of the St. Anthony of Padua Council in Manteca, and Niles Anderson of the Ripon St. Patrick Knights of Columbus, presented the donations to Laplume and three other volunteers on Tuesday — $5,000 from the Manteca Knights, and $8,850 from the Ripon Council. Accepting the donations with Laplume were Brian Lehr, a board member of the organization, his wife Cara, a volunteer, and Dani Bright, also a volunteer.

The Mobile Medical Unit, which was also purchased with the help of private donations, will be operational as soon as it is adequately equipped, Laplume said. It’s still “not fully furnished,” she said. The Pregnancy Help Center also will need to obtain a state license for the mobile unit to start operating. They already have two nurse volunteers to be on staff; however, they are still looking for a nurse manager.

Once it’s ready to go on the road, the Mobile Medical Unit will be deployed at various locations in the five-community area that the organization serves – Manteca, Ripon, Escalon, Lathrop and French Camp. Among the services that the mobile unit will provide are free ultrasounds and STD (sexually transmitted diseases) testing.

“Everything is strictly confidential,” Laplume said of the center’s clientele and services provided.

As for the center’s new location at 401 North Main, Laplume said they need to make the move because they have outgrown their current site.

“We don’t have enough room,” she said.

The Prudential building will need to be renovated before the planned move in November. Renovations, which will include interior areas such counseling rooms, a conference room, and examination rooms, will cost $60,000.

Pregnancy Help Center completely relies on donations which are tax-exempt. The organization is a 501 (c) faith-based entity. Funding sources include local church, organizations and generous individuals in the community. Those donations are needed for expenses such as rent for the facility which is $3,600 a month at its current location.

“God’s been good to us. We’re taking a leap of faith,” Laplume commented during the donation presentation Tuesday about the work that the organization is doing.

“Amen to that,” was the quick rejoinder from Grand Knight John Gilmore.

In addition to the monetary help, the center also welcomes donations such as maternity clothes, baby supplies and clothing for babies.

The Manteca Pregnancy Help Center started in 1988 in a small office across from Manteca High School on Garfield Street. From there, it moved to another building on North Main Street just a few buildings south of the Prudential office where they are moving to in November.

“We exist to promote life-affirming services for young women and men who find themselves facing an unexpected pregnancy. We have all the information you need to make an informed decision,” the Pregnancy Help Center’s mission statement reads in part.

The organization is affiliated with organizations such as the National Institute of Family Life Advocates, Heartbeat International, and the Manteca Chamber of Commerce.

For more information about Pregnancy Help Center and where to send donations, visit www.mphcofmanteca.com or call (209) 239-9899, or send letter by snail mail to 640 N. Main St., Manteca CA 95336.

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