PAXINOS - Those attending Tuesday's fundraising banquet for the Pregnancy Care Center, Shamokin, were not only encouraged, but challenged to continue the good work the center is doing.

"Tonight," keynote speaker Katy Flood said, "be the planter of a seed that will be cultivated by God that will created new identities, beliefs, actions and behaviors. Be the person that will help change a life, which can change a family and a generation."

Flood, the director of the REACH (Relationship Education About Choices and Health) Program at the Crossroads Pregnancy Center, Lewistown, told the 150 supporters at Masser's Banquet Hall about the Pregnancy Care Center's many success stories, including one close to her heart - her own.

She said she had an abortion in college. She said her decision devastated her, but volunteering at a pregnancy center gave her a chance to become whole again.

"The staff there and I would work to redeem me and restore my future," Flood said. "This is what God has all worked through us to do: realign the perceptions of our clients to see how God loves them and to make the right choices."

Also sharing her success story was Ashley Fisher, a client of the Shamokin Pregnancy Care Center, speaking with her fiance' Stephen Blyler, and their baby, eight-month old Jace Blyler.

"I first came to the Pregnancy Care Center after a mission trip to Africa and was diagnosed as being 12 weeks pregnant," Fisher said. "I was really nervous about how they would react to my situation, but I was never judged about being pregnant and not married," she said.

She credited the center for teaching her about her situation and what to expect physically, and how to keep the faith when Jace was hospitalized twice with complications.

"I'm grateful for what they taught me because, without their help, I know I would have been in way over my head," Fisher said.

Executive director Margie Conrad shared statistics for the year at the center: 101 new clients being served, volunteers spending 3,800 hours helping clients and one salvation in Christ.

"I'm not discouraged about that, because that is still one person who didn't know Christ before they came to us," Conrad said.

Due to the generosity of their supporters, the monthly mortgage payments, plus $7,500 on the principal, on their Market Street building were paid, leaving them owing about $30,000 of the $77,000 loan. Plans to add a medical center are progressing, thanks to a special gift received from Dauphin County, Conrad said.

"I attended the banquet for the center in Millersburg last night, and they presented us with a donation of $7,131. It was money that was earmarked for their medical center, but since they are not in a position to move forward, they got the blessing from their benefactors to give it to us, so we are on our way," she said.

Conrad hoped the special evening would inspire others to give, not only financially, but with their times as volunteers.

"We are always reaching our clients, showing them they have a choice," Conrad said. "Maybe some of you here will stop hesitating and make a choice to help."