The Access Pregnancy Resource Center’s mobile pregnancy unit will be parked from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. through May 29 at Divine Mercy, 4337 Sal Lentini Parkway, Kenner, on Tuesdays; and at Hope Haven, 1101 Barataria Blvd., Marrero, on Thursdays.
The big pink bus has been in operation since November.
Louisiana Right to Life and its New Orleans chapter donated $100,000 toward the cost of the unit, with another $100,000 coming from Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans and private donors.
“We had been looking into a mobile unit for some time,” said Michelle Black, director of Maternity and Adoption Services for Access.
“We wanted to remove the barrier of transportation” for women in need of help, she said.
For now, the unit changes locations every three months.
Elaine Parra, ultrasound technician and driver of the unit, said word of mouth brings clients to the bus, where women are given pregnancy tests, educational information, an ultrasound and assistance with filing for Medicaid.
Linda D’Aquila is aboard the unit as a client advocate, helping women navigate their way through the many emotions of pregnancy.
“We are a resource connection,” D’Aquila said. “If we don’t have the information, we get it.”
“We are enjoying it so much,” Parra added. “It is very rewarding and fulfilling.”
Clients who come to the mobile unit receive educational information and support in a nonjudgmental setting.
Moms of new babies also receive a wonderful benefit: free diapers.
“That is one of our big resources,” Black said.
There are no subsidies for diapers, so mothers rely on donations from the Access diaper bank.
The diaper bank is always in need of donations, especially large sizes, she added.
The response to the mobile unit has been good, Black said.
“Clients are happy we are in their neighborhood,” she said.
Black said she is not sure where the next stop will be for the mobile unit, but she does know it will go wherever the need is greatest.
“We know there are areas that are underserved,” she said.
In addition to the mobile van, clients may visit the Access Pregnancy and Referral Center, 921 Aris Ave., Suite 8, Metairie, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Call (504) 832-1503. The mobile unit number is (504) 427-1278.