When Anchor of Hope Health Center moved into its current space on South Taylor Drive in Sheboygan this spring, it represented not just a new home, but a new era of possibilities for the pregnancy resource center, founded in 2015.
The center is a faith-based, non-profit organization that grew from the combined efforts of 40 Days for Life, Sheboygan and Manitowoc County Teens for Life and the local Knights of Columbus chapter, who collectively recognized a void in life-affirming pregnancy support services in the Sheboygan area. When they initially opened their doors as New Hope Pregnancy Center in downtown Sheboygan, they offered free pregnancy testing and parenting classes. Six years later, they have been able to expand their methods of outreach, but the mission remains the same — “to surround moms with as many services as we can to help them support a choice for life,” said Director Jacky Drewry.
They still offer free pregnancy testing and parenting classes, but now Anchor of Hope is equipped to do STI testing and treatment, ultrasounds and abortion pill reversal (APR), all free of charge, in addition to providing material support and referrals for vulnerable mothers and families. The center has eight part-time staff members and anywhere from 75 to 90 volunteers, depending on the month.
Its new location is situated diagonally across South Taylor Drive from Sheboygan’s Planned Parenthood clinic, where chemical abortions are offered.
“If we’re on the sidewalk praying, we can direct them right across the street,” said Germaine Souik, an Anchor of Hope volunteer and the leader of Sheboygan 40 Days for Life. “There’s an alternative now to going into Planned Parenthood.”
“Women can have an honest choice for life,” said Drewry, who said that the center is on track to serve 500 clients this year. She added that Anchor of Hope’s evolving roster of services has helped to connect it to families who are vulnerable to abortion even before an unplanned pregnancy occurs.
“What we’ve been blessed to do is to be able to surround women with those comprehensive services — that’s where the STI testing and treatment comes in, not only for women but for their partners,” she explained. “If we can build relationships during periods of sexual health need, then we become a first call instead of a last resort for that mom when that pregnancy test does show up positive at home.”
Dcn. John Gavin, who serves the Sheboygan South Side parishes (Immaculate Conception, St. Peter Claver and SS. Cyril and Methodius), is an Anchor of Hope board member who has been involved in the organization since its inception.
“We hope that God’s love will flow through our efforts to help our clients understand the beauty and value of every human life, including their own,” he said. “We hope that they will learn how to be better parents and families if they decide to parent their children. We also hope that those we serve come to understand how deeply they and their children are loved by the Creator of the universe.”
It may already be happening — Drewry reported that the first client to visit Anchor of Hope’s new location was an ultrasound for a mother who was very close to choosing abortion.
“She literally had the pills in her hands but didn’t take them,” said Drewry. “She chose life instead.”
To learn more about Anchor of Hope and how to support its mission, visit anchorofhopewi.org.