I recently was asked in a radio interview about Knoxville’s need for a place like HOPE. The question went something like this, “Aren’t abortion numbers on the decline? If so…why is HOPE needed?” This question wasn’t meant to be a shot at me or HOPE. I actually think the interviewer knew the answer and wanted to give me an opportunity to tell his thousands of listeners about the amazing work going on right in their backyard for life, and of course, I am always prepared to do that!

I appreciated this question so much that I thought I would share my answer with you. I want the world to know what type of impact HOPE, with your help, is having on this community.

I can answer this question a number of different ways. I could take you back to 1997 when HOPE opened its doors. I could talk to you about the more than 20,000 appointments we have seen in just over 19 years. I could discuss the hundreds of baby showers we have thrown or the amount of time that has been spent in mentoring sessions. I could do that, and maybe I will one day in a much larger post or a book, but today I wish to look at the past couple of weeks at HOPE as I believe these past few weeks provide a great snapshot of HOPE’s 19 year story.

The past couple of weeks at HOPE have been amazing, overwhelming, encouraging, and exhausting. We have seen double-digit appointments each day, thrown 10 baby showers, scheduled 24 patients for parenting class, and served six patients who found their way here after visiting a local abortion clinic.

That sounds like a lot for just two weeks of work because it is! We anticipated an influx of patients after Spring Break, but we never really know truly what that influx will look like or involve. Not knowing, however, does not concern me because I believe fully in our staff and medical personnel here at HOPE. They are well-equipped, loving, caring, and eager to serve everyone that walks in our doors.

What does double-digit appointments actually mean though? This means we are booked solid every hour of the day and, at times, doubled booked. This means every room available in our building is being used. This doesn’t even factor in the possible walk-ins that find their way to HOPE. We will always see a walk-in for a pregnancy test. We know that we are stretched for time, space, and staff, but that doesn’t change the fact that a patient, a member of our community, is in need.

Double-digit appointments also mean that our staff is constantly in action – action that has them diving deep with each patient seeking to hear their story and serve their needs. We know a full schedule is ahead, but the patient will always feel like they are the only one in the building. We want them to know that their care is priority one when they are with our staff. I am proud to say that this type of work and attention is offered day in and day out!

I could go on in ad nauseam celebrating our staff and their abilities, but I would rather transition now to another piece of HOPE’s puzzle – a piece that you help us with constantly. We had the absolute fortune to throw 10 baby showers on Thursday of last week. Yes! 10 SHOWERS IN ONE DAY! These showers blessed families with car seats, diaper bags, diapers, clothes, bathtubs, pack-n-plays, and strollers. HOPE is fully medical, but we will never neglect the needs of our patients after their baby arrives.

We are truly in awe and honored that God would allow us to take part in this type of service to a community we love. Shower day is always exhausting but participating in these are some of the most rewarding parts of our job!

These showers are provided for those that participate in our parenting classes. We love offering these classes and were blessed to meet with 24 patients over the last week to get them scheduled for the newest round of classes.

We are proud that we can serve our patients at a holistic level. We serve their mind, body, and spirit. This is why parenting class is part of our mission. We want our patients to understand the amazing opportunity they have to be a parent. We desire for them to be the parent God has called them to be. We understand pregnancy can be a scary time and we want to help ease their concerns as they await the arrival of their baby.

These classes would be impossible without the support and work of our volunteers! Our volunteers love life and are willing to teach, mentor, provide food, and pray.

Much of the work at HOPE is uplifting and refreshing, but we must never lose sight of the heaviness our patients are facing on a daily basis. These past two weeks we have seen six patients visit HOPE after first visiting an abortion clinic. These patients were in a vulnerable state seeking assistance, but the abortion clinic wanted their money, didn’t see their intrinsic value, and only wished to get them in and out as quickly as possible.

These patients’ experience at HOPE could not have been more different. Here they were met with love. We didn’t care about their financial situation. We simply wanted to help where help was needed. In fact, one patient told us she had always received her care from a large medical/abortion clinic in town, but never again. She felt valued, loved, and dignified at HOPE, things she never felt at the other clinic.

I could continue my answer to the aforementioned question, but I think you get the point. HOPE was needed in 1997 and is needed now. We are meeting a dire need in this community that cannot be met by abortion clinics that see patients as a stream of revenue instead of a person with value in desperate need of love and care.

We saw 36 patients in the first three days of this week. There are many days where HOPE’s staff goes home exhausted both mentally and physically, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. We have been called to this work and we will serve alongside of you as long as the good Lord allows us to! Thanks for standing with us and seeking to impact this community for life!

posted by Andrew Wood, Executive Director of Hope Resource Center