Dear PoPville – Help the Northwest Center (serving mothers and children in need) Get Their Heat Back


Photo by PoPville flickr user brunofish

Dear PoPville,

The Northwest Center is an organization serving mothers and children in need in Washington, DC, and have been in operation since 1981. These women are usually neglected and abandoned at the most vulnerable time – when they are pregnant, or have recently given birth. The Northwest Center provides them assistance and support, and also provide housing in their Maternity Home for those most in need.

While we have had unseasonably warm weather, as you know, the temperatures have dropped down and started snowing. Over the weekend, one of the two boilers the Center and Maternity Home use for heat broke. It is over 30 years old, and it is damaged beyond repair. It will cost them over $10,000 to get the new heating system they need. They do not have enough money to fix their heat.

Please help. They are in desperate need to keep the moms and babies warm! No amount is too small. If you cannot make a donation, please just say a prayer (or some equivalent) that they can get the funding they need. The Northwest Center relies solely on the generosity of others.

To donate via PayPal go here.

I am happy to provide more information about the organization – I just wanted to spread the word to help those in need. The director of communications can be reached at: kristen(at)northwestcenter.net

Thank you!

24 Comment

  • I don’t like the idea of anyone having to shiver in an unheated building, but Popville-ians might want to be aware that — although the Northwest Center was rather oblique about this in their e-mail — they’re a “pro-life” “pregnancy center”: http://www.northwestcenter.net/about.php

    I put “pregnancy center” in quotation marks because such centers sometimes pretend to be neutral, when in fact they have a specific pro-life agenda — see http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/05/health/pregnancy-centers-gain-influence-in-anti-abortion-fight.html?pagewanted=all .

    I don’t know if the Northwest Center engages in this kind of misleading behavior — its website seems pretty up-front about its agenda, although it does mention “options counseling” (I guess that would be re. the “options” of giving a baby up for adoption vs. keeping it??).

    Knowing what the Northwest Center is all about makes me less sympathetic to this plea.

    • Thanks for the NYT link. Wow. I didn’t realize how powerful the anti-choice “pregnancy centers” are.

      • Indeed. It’s very frustrating that the supposed neutrality of these organizations so often goes unchallenged, while some politicians constantly insist that Planned Parenthood’s agenda is laser-focused on abortion. (Which is false–I’ve been to PP a number of times, and have seen first-hand how they provide general women’s health services, and even pre-natal care.) But back to the original point…always prudent to conduct some due dillegence on an organization, then donate or not according to your values.

  • They have a thorough website. Read it to learn of their donors, mission, news and events.

  • I agree with the other poster that I feel bad that they are in such a bind with the heat, but I personally am not comfortable with some of the things I saw on the website, particularly the “Friend For Life” award banquet featuring the “abortion survivor.” I’m all for highlighting local organizations in need, but it’d be good to have a clear heads up if the organization has a political bend as this one seems to.

    • Good grief! Don’t you realize that “pro-choice” also has a political bend. These women and babies are cold! Either give or don’t. That’s “your-choice”.

      • Where did I say that “pro-choice” wasn’t also a political position? This organization is likely doing some admirable work, but they also have a political agenda (the event featuring the “abortion survivor”, abstinence classes, etc.) that I strongly disagree with. There are plenty of other organizations providing valuable services to women and children that I can direct my money and time towards.

  • hmmm – why don’t they try Kickstarter? Fundster? etc.
    Or they could’ve hit up all the pro-lifers on the Mall – put the money where the mouth is, so to speak …

    • If it just went out this past weekend, they likely weren’t able to call in a repair person and find out it was so dire until later on this past week–which is a pity, because it would have been a much better fundraising time.

  • The Northwest Center offers another “choice” for women to choose, the right so many of you seem eager to protect. It gives women a place to get assistance and support, helping those who chose to have their baby instead of aborting it. I am not trying to engage in a debate, but showing perhaps a bit of hypocritical thinking: you will support a woman’s right to choose, so long as its abortion and supporting Planned Parenthood; and you will be “pro-woman” but not “pro-mom”. They are needy women and children in need, plain and simple. The money goes to give them heat.

    • This. Thank you.

    • I’m pretty hardcore pro-choice, and I agree with you. One of my main gripes with the “pro-life” organizations is that they rarely provide women’s health services, but this organization seems to be doing just that with an open and honest agenda.

      I hope they meet their goal quickly.

    • the “pro life” mafia that funds these steering centers is incredibly well-funded. let adolph coors go buy the friggin’ boiler, already.

    • I don’t think anyone who’s raised concern about the Northwest Center’s agenda is taking issue with a woman’s choice to carry a pregnancy to term. I’m assuming a fair amount of the Center’s residents/clients sought out their services after making the decision to keep their baby (either because they don’t believe in abortion, or for any number of other reasons). Good for them. However, the thing with many “pregnancy centers” (speaking generally since i have no personal experience with the Northwest Center) is that they also draw women who just found out they’re pregnant (or suspect they may be pregnant) and are scared or confused about what to do–and because of the centers’ oblique marketing, these women go there believing the centers provide a full range of women’s health services, when in fact they do not. Rather, they actively steer women away from choosing abortion, either through emotional tactics like showing gruesome fetus-pictures or in some cases, deceptive tactics (ie, citing debunked “science” that there’s a link between abortion and breast cancer, or falsely telling women they’re too far along for abortion.) This probably happens less in an urban area like DC where Planned Parenthood has higher visibility, but in many communities, these pregnancy centers are the only visible, convenient option for women, especially those who lack health insurance and don’t have a PCP or GYN.

      I support women who choose to carry out their pregnancy, and I support women’s health/social services organizations that offer patients an ideologically-neutral FACT/SCIENCE-BASED discussion of ALL their available options (if the patient wants to hear her options). I support Planned Parenthood because that’s exactly what they do: if a woman walks in already having made her choice for abortion, they provide that; if a woman walks in for a pregnancy test and is unsure what she wants to do, they’ll provide information about abortion, adoption, and carrying a pregnancy to term (including pre-natal care, which many people don’t realize Planned Parenthood also provides).

  • PayPal’s nice, but a link to the right person in city government, or simply the mayor’s office would be nice. That really should be paid for by the city.

    • hell no it shouldn’t. these are hardcore anti-choice zealots and shouldn’t receive a penny of tax money.

      How about this fun event that they list on their “events” page – care to meet an “abortion survivor”?

      May 18, 2013
      Friend for Life Awards Banquet
      honoring Melissa Ohden, Abortion Survivor
      St. Rose of Lima
      Gaithersburg, MD

      • I’m for women’s rights,

        but seriously? you would show contempt for an “abortion survivor?”

        That’s rich.

        • i show contempt for trotting them out and exploiting the situation for political gain.
          not the person that “survived”. even the term is unsavory.

    • Essential city services should be paid for by the city – which is us – through our tax dollars. This should mean that no mothers & children – (or really ANYONE) – should face cold hardship.

      But a charity needs to have it’s own funding in place. If you’re operating with no emergency reserves for something like this – you are not running a good program.

      NO – of course I am not saying throw the mothers and babies out in the cold right now! But a charity is a business. I’m sure the cost of just a dozen buses to the March For Life would easily cover the cost of a new heating system. Why not tap that stream?

      A woman with an unplanned pregnancy should have all options available – and thoroughly explained – adoption-abortion- or raising the child herself. But whatever her decision, she should not be dependent on the frailty of machinery, the caprice of weather or the manipulation of any religion to survive.

  • Here’s a question that I think would shed more light on whether an organization has at its heart the goal of supporting women in need vs using services and programs as a vehicle–and needy women as a smokescreen–for pushing an ideological agenda. Lets give the benefit of doubt and just assume that everyone coming to the Northwest Center for assistance has already made the informed decision to see their pregnancy through. Then, some of these women, in the course of their life skills or parenting classes, express a desire to avoid further pregnancies (either for good, or for a few years until they’ve achieved some other life goals) and ask for assistance and resources related to birth control. Does the Northwest Center provide comprehensive information and a prescription/referral (if applicable) once a woman and her counselor discuss what method of contraception she’s comfortable with? Or, as is typical with many pregnancy centers, will they discourage use of contraceptives and steer women toward an abstinence-only approach? (I’m not implying that they do because I don’t know–though I have my suspicions– I’m sincerely curious.)

    • An easier question – does your organization support a woman’s right to control her own fertility and her right to choose to terminate a pregnancy if she feels that is her best option?

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