Free resource center for pregnant women hopes to fill void on Peoria’s Southside

PEORIA (Heart of Illinois ABC) – A new Pregnancy Resource Center is working to break down barriers on Peoria’s Southside. It’s the only one of it’s kind in one of the poorest zip codes in the state.

“We saw the need here on the Southside of Peoria in the 61605,” said Shelley Hauter, Director of the Pregnancy Resource Center.

Walking or driving through the Southside of Peoria, one might notice there was not a resource center for pregnant women.

“The poverty and the need is here so we just feel like it was an obvious place to go,” said Hauter.

Now, with space at the faith-based Southside Community Center, the Pregnancy Resource Center came to life.

“It was really their vision of like this is what we want the Southside Community Center to be and we would love a Pregnancy Resource Center,” said Hauter.

Since March, the center has offered pregnancy testing, ultra sounds, STI and STD testing. As well as mentoring and education for women.

“We’re going to give you lots of information we’re going to talk about all your options. We don’t avoid discussing any of it because we want to lay it all out before them and then it’s her decision to make,” said Hauter.

Without this location, it would take a woman more than one bus transfer from the Southside to get to the nearest resource center.

“To be able to know that there’s one in their neighborhood, within walking distance, right on a bus route,” Rev. Irene Lewis-Wimbley, Director of the Southside Community Center continued, “This kind of removes that transportation barrier.”

Lewis-Wimbley says the community center offers youth leadership and parent support programs. She was overwhelmed when she saw the clinic come to life.

“I just cannot tell you how many tears of joy. I got to be here when they rolled in the ultrasound machine,” said Wimbley.

The women both hope dozens of other women will benefit from all of the free resources.

“I have just always had a passion for helping women, helping them think about their pregnancy,” said Hauter.

The clinic is open for walk-ins and appointments on Tuesday’s and every other Wednesday.

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