Thanks to the hungry mouths of hundreds, the Pregnancy Help Center was able to raise thousands toward its mobile ultrasound unit.
Upwards of 240 supporters and crab connoisseurs filled the banquet room at the Manteca Senior Center last Friday to take part in the volunteer-based organization’s inaugural crab feed.
The evening featured a wine-and-cheese tasting, silent and live auction, dancing and of course, brief appearances by the evening’s guests of honor: marinated crab.
The Pregnancy Help Center’s Sherry Hill said the event raised more than $10,000, which will go toward the licensing and completion of the Mobile Unit.
Executive Director Janice Laplume was delighted by the community’s support, from those that arrived to eat to those that arrived to work.
Miles Artherton and Gage Lawrence volunteered as greeters, holding the door and welcoming guests.
Cynthia Jackson of Manteca’s Transformed Through Hope Ministries provided the blessing.
Scores of volunteers, ranging in age, acted as servers and waiters, and Robert Pacheco filled two roles – deejay and auctioneer.
However, the crab was king.
“I love to cook and I had to call and tell you how surprised I was at the quality of the food,” Quinn Higginbotham said in a phone conversation with Hill, the Center’s public relations consultant.
“The marinated crab was consistent, very good, not overpowering so you could taste the crab. … I’ve gone to a crab feed every year for the last five years and this is the one I will go to next year.”
Added Ripon’s Joe Lourenco: “It had a good distinctive meat flavor and I was pleasantly surprised to see the choice of pastas.”
The Mobile Unit is a 33-foot converted motor home that will service the Manteca, Ripon, Lathrop, French Camp and Escalon communities.
The Mobile Unit will help the Pregnancy Help Center and its staff of volunteer doctors and professionals reach those that might not otherwise visit the center, particularly teenagers.
The motor home and the ultrasound unit were purchased using funds raised at the center’s inaugural 5-kilometer walkathon in May and annual banquet in October, in conjunction with the Knights of Columbus. It was unveiled in November.
Many of the Knights of Columbus were in attendance on Friday.
There is a growing need for service and support in the Central Valley.
The volunteer-driven Pregnancy Help Center offers soon-to-be parents an alternative to abortion, while assisting them with classes, counseling, clothing and supplies for up to two years.
Seven years ago, the center served 120 families in the five-city area. Today, the number of families is in excess of 300.