A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Northern Kentucky University students support Care Net of NKY with annual drive-thru fundraising event

By Tessa Redmond
Kentucky Today

A Northern Kentucky University Students for Life group organized a drive-thru donation for Care Net of Northern Kentucky, a pregnancy support center with three locations. The November event marked their second year supporting the pregnancy center’s Cold Spring location.

Clare Birkeland, president of Northern Right to Life, said the idea of a drive-thru fundraiser was sparked by COVID restrictions on campus last year.

College students with Northern Right to Life have supported the ministry of Care Net of Northern Kentucky in recent years by collecting much-needed supplies, like diapers and baby wipes. In November, the Northern Kentucky University students collected $1,500 in supplies. In this 2020 photo, they collected donations with an estimated value of more than $4,000. (Submitted photo from Kentucky Today)

“We couldn’t really do meetings on campus,” Birkeland said. “We couldn’t do anything that we usually did.”

After deciding to organize an event where donors could stay socially distanced, Northern Right to Life reached out to Care Net. Collaborating on the drive has developed into an ongoing partnership that involves NKU students with the work of Care Net and promotes the pregnancy center’s resources on campus.

“We’re trying to build more of a relationship between NKU in general and Care Net,” Birkeland explained. “(Care Net is) only, maybe, two minutes down the road and they’re a great resource not only for pregnant women, but also men if they want classes on fatherhood or just parenting in general.”

Care Net has served families through 1,769 client visits in 2021 thus far. While many of those appointments represent repeat clients, 430 individuals walked into one of Care Net’s three centers for the first time this year.

“We have (seen) a great increase in clients,” said Joy Tarleton, director of development. “We’re seeing more come to us with needs. And so, this (donation drive) really relieves that burden on them and on us.”

Donations for Care Net of Northern Kentucky (Submitted photo from Kentucky Today)

Tarleton added that because Care Net offers all of their services to clients free of charge, donations allow them to keep serving Northern Kentucky families.

“We continue with the community’s help,” she said. “We have wonderful organizations like Northern Right to Life there and churches and individuals that do that. It just runs through our fingers — We just give it to the right people.”

Birkeland said the group gathered more than 200 items for Care Net clients, including diapers, wipes, shampoo and lotion. She estimated the monetary value of the merchandise at $1,500.

“It means so much,” Tarleton said. “We have some ideas in place for next year that will hopefully help us increase the amount (of donations) and get back to where we were in the first year,” Birkeland said. “But I’m still happy with how it came out.”

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