CRADLE is pro-child, pro-mom, and pro-dad and tries to connect its clients with a local church.

In 1996, Pastor John Gowdy of Temple Baptist Church received a visit in his study that would change the Ohio community of Portsmouth forever.  Maura Pilet, a midwife for a local gynecologist and the wife of one of his pastors on staff at the time, brought him a copy of the area’s phone book.

Maura only got to work with the center for a couple years as she passed away quite unexpectedly at the age of 37 in 1998.  But her dream lives on through CRADLE.

She showed him the Yellow Pages.  They began with a list of eight different places offering Abortion Services from as far away as Huntington, WV, and Cincinnati.  Where were the listings for Abortion Alternatives?  She was convicted about the area’s need to share other options for women who were considering an abortion.  Who would tell them about the aftermath?  How would they find out about the physical and mental repercussions?  Who would show them they could still have hope?

Out of that initial conversation, the idea was born for the CRADLE Pregnancy Care Center.  It was established at The Carousel Center, 1112 Gallia Street, in Portsmouth.  It is located next door to Temple Baptist, where CRADLE’s Maternity Resource Center resides.

Maura only got to work with the center for a couple years as she passed away quite unexpectedly at the age of 37 in 1998.  But her dream lives on through CRADLE which stands for “Christ Centered Resources to Assist in Difficult Life Experiences.”

“It’s been a ministry that has been kept alive by God’s good grace,” says Melanie Malone who has served as CRADLE’s director since October 2016.  She now serves along with eight volunteers who “love Jesus Christ, love these families and love these babies,” she said. “We want to help them as long as they allow us to.”

Pastor Gowdy and several board members have served the center since its beginning as well as Denise Hurley, who has worn many hats as volunteer, director, board member and now chairman of the board.

“We try to come along and meet you where you are in life and help you with whatever circumstances you find yourself in.”  Melanie Malone

If a woman becomes pregnant and would like assistance from CRADLE, she can call 740-354-2273 (CARE), message them on Facebook or email Melanie at Melanie.Malone@cradlepcc.org. The center is open on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., so if you need to contact them after hours, it is best to email Melanie.  You can also get more information at www.cradlepcc.org.  The organization also issues a monthly update letter.

CRADLE is not just limited to an abortion-minded woman.  “We want to minister to her and help her to choose life,” said Melanie.  But any pregnant woman who needs help is invited to contact them. This also includes men who are encouraged to visit the center where they can meet with male volunteers who are available to counsel forgotten fathers.

What are the first steps for a new client? Call the center and make an appointment to come into the office and sign up to receive confidential assistance.  There are no income guidelines or requirements to receive help.  When you arrive, a member of the staff will take you to a private meeting room to ask for some background.  Then the volunteers will work to customize a plan just for you.  “Every situation is different, and there is no cookie cutter solution,” said Melanie.  “We try to come along and meet you where you are in life and help you with whatever circumstances you find yourself in.”

Plans often include Bible studies, parent education videos and other ways for the clients to earn points that will help them obtain diapers, clothing, baby furniture and other things they may need fro the Maternity Resource Center.  The center also rewards them for going to doctor’s appointments.

Because CRADLE does not accept any government money, its workers are free to talk to these families about Jesus, and their footprint is expanding.

CRADLE is pro-child, pro-mom, and pro-dad and tries to connect its clients with a local church.  The volunteers try to meet the physical needs of those they serve, but they also place a high priority on spiritual needs.  Parents might need diapers, clothing and other items, “but their greatest need is Jesus Christ,” said Melanie.

Because CRADLE does not accept any government money, its workers are free to talk to these families about Jesus, and their footprint is expanding.  God has recently given them a presence in Judge Alan Lemons’ drug and family reunification court.  They meet with participants and offer parent education classes for free (no income requirements).  “If they have custody or are expecting a child, we come along aside of them to assist them,” she said.

Does this sound like a ministry in which you would like to be involved?  If so, there are many ways to help.  First, the center is staffed with volunteers, and more help is needed in the office.  CRADLE also accepts new and gently used items which are cleaned before giving away, so people are needed to help wash clothes.

Financial donations are also helpful, and churches and groups can get involved by helping with CRADLE’s biggest fundraiser – the Baby Bottle Boomerang.  The center supplies bottles that people can fill with cash, checks or loose change.  “This helps to keep the center’s doors open,” said Melanie.

“Prayers are also absolutely vital,” she added, as she asks for prayer for board members, staff and volunteers, clients and continued support needed to keep the doors open.

You can also support CRADLE by participating in its annual Walk for Life, usually held in late summer (date TBD).  Melanie is also available for speaking engagements, and local churches throw baby showers for the center which is now reaching out to local high schools as well. Staff recently attended South Webster’s health fair as well as a service fair at Green to encourage volunteer service.  This gives an opportunity to provide abstinence education materials to area youth.

But Melanie says her favorite thing about working with CRADLE is connecting with the families who come in to the center.  “I think we all can relate to a time we feel there is no hope.  When you start talking about that, they listen because that’s really what they want.  They’re broken, and they need hope, and Jesus Christ is our only source of hope.”

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Angie Duduit is the Co-Editor of Southern Ohio Christian Voice. She is also the Owner/President of Joel Communications, LLC in Lucasville, Ohio. She has 24 years of experience in public relations in the nuclear industry. She and her husband, Del, have two adult sons, Gabe and Eli, and they all attend Rubyville Community Church where Angie sings, plays the piano and directs music for the youth group.