Faith in Action
By Jacob Eftink
TUPELO – For many years Knights of Columbus council #8848 has supported the local crisis pregnancy center, Parkgate Pregnancy Center. Parkgate offers high quality, confidential services. The center has an outstanding, dedicated staff including supportive counselors and a sonographer to guide their clients along the way. All services are free of charge made possible by generous community members, including the Knights of Columbus.
Services include pregnancy tests, ultrasound sonography, and counseling. Parkgate also provides the Empower program, a relevant, real-life class for students in grades 7-12 teaching healthy decision making, sexual risk avoidance and more. Other services include parenting for first time parents; mentor programs to support new parents. Parkgate also connects clients with other resources in the community.
The unique location of the pregnancy center provides visibility to potential clients in an underserved community. The nearest abortion clinic is in Memphis about 100 miles away. There are two major universities and a U.S. Air Force base within 60 miles of the center.
Parkgate’s needed to replace their aging, leased ultrasound machine and the Supreme Knights of Columbus Ultrasound Program was a natural fit. The program has well defined parameters and criteria. With the support of Knights of Columbus supreme and state officers, the local council was able to successfully navigate through the process. Ultimately, Parkgate Pregnancy Center formally qualified for the ultrasound program after a thorough survey on Dec. 6, 2021 by the Diocese of Jackson.
The Tupelo Knights of Columbus council’s major fundraiser event, the 6th Annual Charity Concert Gala, took place on Aug. 13, 2022, at St. James Catholic Church in Tupelo. The concert featured extremely talented musicians from the region. There were over 200 concert goers from the parish and community. Ultimately, about $11,000 was raised at the event. The Mississippi council generously contributed $7,000 for a total of $18,000 raised. Supreme Knights of Columbus ultrasound program added the other 50% of funds for a grand total of $36,000 for the final purchase of the GE ultrasound machine. Collaboration among the Pregnancy Center, the Diocese of Jackson, then local, state, and supreme Knights of Columbus council was been inspiring. This was truly a blessed project.
The local ultrasound program officially concluded with a dedication ceremony on May 23, 2023 at Parkgate Pregnancy Center. Parkgate staff, board members, parishioners from St. James Catholic Church, and Knights of Columbus members were in attendance to enjoy the celebration.
One of the highlights was when the sonographer, Stacy Armstrong, demonstrated the new machine and the images of unborn babies it produces. She commented the new machine’s quality is a marked improvement over the old one. We agreed the ultrasound room is sacred space where decisions for life are made every day as a direct result of mothers seeing the images of their unborn children.
(Jackob Eftink served as chairman for the ultrasound program for the Father Reitmeier Knight of Columbus Council #8848 in Tupelo)