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Waiting for Walk funds, pregnancy aid group faces crisis

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Friends of the Unborn, an organization that runs two homes for young women who have nowhere else to turn while facing crisis pregnancies, is facing a hardship of its own.

The group has always depended on donations, but this month there has been a significant drop-off of incoming funds that allow them to support the 19 girls they are currently providing care for. The organization is preparing for its biggest fundraiser all year, the Massachusetts Citizens For Life’s Respect Life Walk, but are worried about the group’s current debt and surviving the coming months before the check arrives from MCFL at the end of the year.

“We’re always struggling,” Marilyn Birnie, founder of Friends of the Unborn, said, adding that September has been especially difficult. “We had almost no income this month.”

Birnie speculated that the drop-off is a result of so many people responding to the great need of victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. While she is glad that people have been so generous to that worthy cause, the lack of funds for her organization leaves it on shaky ground, she said.

Friends of the Unborn does not accept any state funds because the organizers would no longer be able to offer Bible study classes, Mass in their own chapel or prayer time for the women who come there.

“We are totally funded by donations so that we can talk about Jesus anytime we want,” said Birnie.

The majority of their donations come from the Respect Life Walk to Aid Mothers and Children, which will be held on Oct. 2 this year. Participants garner sponsors and bring in money to support 47 organizations that help pregnant women—Friends of the Unborn is one of them.

“We really depend on it for keeping us open,” said Birnie.

The organization celebrated its 21st anniversary on Sept. 11 this year. In 1984, Birnie took in her first homeless pregnant teen. She had seen a Christian television show about the great need for homes for these young women and called Pregnancy Help, an archdiocesan hotline for women facing a crisis pregnancy.

“It really touched my heart. I didn’t know there was a need,” she said. “For three months the Lord spoke to my heart about it.”

The first girl stayed in Birnie’s spare bedroom and was soon followed by another in a room near the living room, and three more in the apartment downstairs.

“It just became a ministry, and we gave it a name,” she added.

While not all of the women who live in the homes are Catholic, Friends of the Unborn offers Mass and Bible study to all who stay there.

“We’ve had many women over the years prepare to receive their sacraments,” she said. “Their spiritual life is greatly enhanced while they are here. In fact, if you talk to any one of them, they’ll mention the Lord. They believe God’s blessed them. They love this home.”

“Many of the women over the years would have had an abortion if they had not had a home to live in,” she added.

More information is available at http://www.friendsoftheunborn.org/ or by calling 617-786-7903.

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