On Wednesday, August 25, 2021, Jennifer Luna, Executive Director of the Women’s Resource Center in Natchitoches, told Winnfield’s Rotary Club members that her organization is a faith-based center dedicated to assisting and educating women to empower them to make good life choices for themselves and their children. All services are free.
The center offers pregnancy tests, ultrasound examinations, education and training on nutrition and health, birth plans for delivery of the baby, and post-birth child care including breast feeding, car safety seats and their installation, and other matters up to one year after the birth. The center also provides infant needs, such as diapers, baby wipes, clothing, prams, and all other required items, which can be redeemed with points awarded for attendance of classes and other achievements.
Ms. Luna reports that Louisiana has the second highest rate of pre-term child birth—before the 37th week of pregnancy—in the nation, which places infants at risk of health and development issues. However, 87% of the Women’s Resource Center’s clients carry their infants past the 37th week, clearly showing the success of the center in its mission of helping mothers deliver healthy babies.
The WRC also provides its clients with community referrals for everything from affordable housing, employment, college and vocational financial assistance, to medical care. It participates in many community events designed to support and assist babies and mothers.
The center serves a region covering a 150-mile radius around Natchitoches, so any woman living in this area can call and visit the Women’s Resource Center in Natchitoches, which of course includes Winn Parish and areas east of us.
While the center receives some funding through grants, most of its financial resources come from their major fundraisers, Run Baby Run 5K race held in Natchitoches every May and its Celebration of Life Gala, and individual donations of money and infant supplies. The Celebration of Life is scheduled as an in-person event this year on September 16, 2021 at the Natchitoches Event Center, and free tickets may be obtained by calling the Women’s Resource Center.
So what can an individual in Winnfield and Winn Parish do to help with the mission of the WRC? Volunteer and donate: donations of money and supplies are always welcomed. Personal volunteer assistance with things like sorting and organizing in-kind donations, counseling pregnant women and new mothers, serving as a liaison with your church congregation or your civic organization to share information about the center and its needs, assisting local women with transportation to the center, is also vital. Also tell your family, friends and neighbors about the center, its services and its needs, and encourage them to spread the word to their friends and neighbors.
According to Ms. Luna, the WRC serves between 350 and 500+ women per year, and the number of clients has increased greatly this year.
As customary, after Ms. Luna answered audience questions, the meeting was adjourned with the Rotary motto: “Service above self!”
The Rotary Club of Winnfield meets every Wednesday at Noon for lunch at Lynda’s Country Kitchen. For more information about the Rotary Club of Winnfield, you may contact President, Jodi Taylor (832) 573-5085. You can also find club information on Facebook at Rotary Club of Winnfield Facebook Page or online at Rotary.org.
Pictured above: Left – Jennifer Luna, Executive Director of the Women’s Resource Center in Natchitoches with Rotary Club of Winnfield President Jodi Taylor