By Catherine Mulhern, The Catholic Sun

Salina and her daughters, Callie and Faith, in the “baby boutique” where they receive clothing and diapers. Billy Hardiman | The Catholic Sun

When Salina found out she was unexpectedly pregnant, she was shocked. Uninsured and filled with worry, she turned to Google to assess her options. The search engine pulled numerous results, including Planned Parenthood. But Salina’s gut told her to go to Aid to Women Center and she’s glad she did.

Accompanying her through the thick and thin of this pregnancy and another soon to come, Aid to Women Center staff members walked with Salina along the path that led to the “greatest blessings” in her life – her daughters Callie, 2 years old, and Faith, 1 year old.

This place of support for pregnant mothers soon became a life-changing community for Salina.

Aid to Women Center – one of the 70 ministries supported by the Charity and Development Appeal (CDA) – is a pregnancy center that is committed to providing compassionate, Catholic-minded care no matter the circumstances. This care takes on many forms including free pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, low-cost prenatal care, lactation consultations, parenting classes for mothers and fathers, peer-to-peer counseling, and free material items including diapers, wipes, and clothing.

But to the staff members, these services are only the beginning of a much greater mission – to show the unconditional love of Jesus to every woman who walks through their doors.

Your gift to the Charity and Development Appeal (CDA) ensures that Salina and hundreds of other pregnant mothers are lovingly accompanied and cared for. Additionally, you impact more than 70 CDA ministries and charities, bringing hope to thousands of other individuals and families in need.

“Many of these mothers have been hurt in some way and have not been shown their worth or dignity,” said Anne Dennis, Outreach Manager of Aid to Women Center. “We just want to love them and hold them up. We want to show them that someone has their best interest in mind, and they are worthy of love and intentional care.”

Some women think this concept is too good to be true when they first enter Aid to Women Center; but it only takes one interaction to recognize the sincerity of staff members and their deep desire to accompany women, hear their stories, and journey alongside them.

As Dennis continued, “God’s love is too good to be true. That’s the kind of love we hope to share with the mothers and fathers who come to Aid to Women Center.”

Callie, 2, plays while her mom takes part in peer-to-peer counseling. Billy Hardiman | The Catholic Sun

This is the same love that has impacted Salina’s life deeply.

When her first visit to Aid to Women Center confirmed her pregnancy, Salina decided to continue her prenatal care and parenting preparation there. Among the many forms of support she has received, three stand out: A baby blanket with the words “You are wonderfully made! Psalm 139:14” that she was given during her first visit, the fact that the staff members know every mother by name, and the love of those who have accompanied her so closely.

“It’s not that I could just come to get diapers and clothes,” said Salina, who is deeply grateful for these items. “It’s so much bigger than that. Aid to Women Center is such a tight-knit place. You can come and you can talk with the staff members about anything. You need community when you are having kids, and it’s been such a blessing to find that here.”

In 2022, Aid to Women Center counseled more than 2,300 abortion-minded women in their two Tempe locations. In November 2022, they opened a much-needed third center, extending women’s health care and prenatal services to the low-income and uninsured women of South Phoenix. And one of their locations is next door to Planned Parenthood.

Aid to Women Center relies heavily on CDA funding to keep its doors open and serve more than 170 women weekly. Through CDA support, dedicated staff members can continue to provide medical care, material support, and most importantly, extend the love of Jesus to mothers in our post-Roe-v.-Wade society.

“You who support the CDA are an extension of the work being done here,” said Joe Kendra, Executive Director of Aid to Women Center.

“Without you, there is no one to answer the phone and no one to greet women who come through our doors. You are the person behind us when the phone rings and a woman on the other end needs help. You are in the room with us when we welcome her and listen to her story. You are with us when we speak with a woman who has taken the abortion pill and wants it to be reversed.

“Thank you for making this possible.”