Open Arms Crisis Pregnancy Center in Columbia has partnered with 30 mid-Missouri churches for the third consecutive year to raise money for new ultrasound machines.
Nile Abele, executive director of Open Arms, said more than $40,000 has been raised over the past two years. It has gone toward the purchase of two ultrasound machines, supplies needed to maintain the machine and insurance.
Open Arms believes ultrasound machines — which take images of fetuses — will help further its opposition to abortion rights by showing pregnant women the fetus inside them.
Last month, Open Arms provided each participating church with empty baby bottles to be taken home by volunteers to fill with change, dollars and checks. The churches will collect the money-filled bottles today, barring weather delays, and return them to the center. Abele said he expects about 2,500 bottles to be returned.
In October, Open Arms sent letters to churches that stand against abortion rights, described the fund-raiser and asked them to gauge the interest of their congregations. “An array of different denominations support what we do,” Abele said.
Some Columbia churches that chose to get involved in this fund-raiser are Christ Our King, The Crossing, Forum Boulevard Christian Church, Christian Chapel and Christian Fellowship.
Doris Denbow, office manager at Christian Chapel, said the church received several hundred bottles. This is the second year Christian Chapel has participated.
Mindy Siro-Scott, education and outreach coordinator at Planned Parenthood in Columbia, said her organization doesn’t directly contact churches to raise money. But, she said, “We do contact religious leaders and offer information (about Planned Parenthood’s activities).”
Planned Parenthood, which supports abortion rights, holds several fund-raisers every year.