City News

Granting a good start for a new life

For 13 years, Lois’ Lodge has provided shelter and help to young women age 14-30 facing the challenges of unplanned pregnancies.

The house, at 1301 Hemlock St. in Charlotte, can host six residents. Some come at the first sign of pregnancy, others at the beginning of the third trimester; the women stay until they deliver.

Many have nowhere else to go.

“They are all alone in some cases,” said Lois’ Lodge Executive Director Buddy Collins. “Many times their family has abandoned them or put them out. Sometimes they come from broken homes.

“We are a Christ-centered home, and we are here to love and take care of them and their baby.”

Lois’ Lodge is one of the hundreds of local nonprofit organizations listed in The Charlotte Observer’s annual Giving Guide. The list is published today, and all these organizations can use help.

The list includes a description of what the organization does, contact information, and what assistance is needed.

The list includes groups working to feed the hungry, care for the sick or abused, or rescue abused and homeless animals.

The needs are great, but when everyone pitches in, amazing things happen. Take Lois’ Lodge, for example: Collins said the small staff relies on volunteers to help with day-to-day operations, and the group depends on the generosity of individuals, churches and other organizations for financial support.

“We have a tremendous group of volunteers. They come every day and sometimes at night to cook, teach classes, lead Bible studies and let these women know that Christ loves them and that little baby,” Collins said.

The residents’ days are structured to give them an idea what life will be like once their baby arrives.

“You can think of us as a program that also accommodates housing,” said Dianne Nunnally, Lois’ Lodge program director and case manager.

“These women work hard. Each morning, from 10 to noon, they attend classes in prenatal care, parenting, life skills, adoption and Bible. In the afternoon, some go to work, some go to school and others look for jobs.

“We partner with other nonprofits to help our residents with resume building, interview skills, and more.

“We try to help them think, ‘OK, I’ve got this baby coming. Let me see if I understand what to do with it.’ In the evening, some of the girls cook for the whole household,” Nunnally said. “We are also starting a forum to introduce partnerships between the girls and the fathers to be. We want to emulate an environment where they will see the challenges, as well as the joys of being a mother.”

The organization works with three Christian adoption agencies for residents who choose to put their children up for adoption.

Whatever decision they make, they know they have the care and support they need to get their lives back on track after their baby is born.

Lois’ Lodge board member Kathi Ingrish said, “This is an opportunity for young women that are in a difficult situation to find security while going through their pregnancy. It allows them to live in a home environment, get training and education about life skills for when the baby comes and gives them the support about how to give their baby the best opportunity in life.

“It’s a great place.”