The Hannah Center: What lies beneath
Clearing house serves any family in need
By Kris Leonhardt
MARSHFIELD — The Hannah Center was founded in 1993 by individuals wanting to create a safe option for pregnant women fleeing detrimental home environments. Since its inception, the Hannah Center has ushered hundreds of women in crisis through its doors and expanded into serving families on a greater level.
“This is more of a family environment, which we feel is very therapeutic for many of the women and children that come here” said Sue Church, Hannah Center board of directors president. “Many of them have come from a situation where relationships are fractured and there might have been abuse.
“The women that come here don’t need to be pregnant. That was a requirement before. It was more of a maternity home, but our board of directors about five or six years ago said, ‘Well, really, we could service any women or children in crisis.’”
Through programs and resources at the Hannah Center, the women are provided with the skills and means to lead an independent life and create a new beginning for themselves.
“Instead of saying, ‘Come here. We’ll take care of you,’ we take care of them for a while, but then they have to meet goals. They have to secure employment. They have to get their GED if they do not have one,” explained Church. “We work with them. … I would call this a transformational environment, so we do not keep reliving these old habits.”
The living area of the Hannah Center is able to house four women and their children, who are looked after by Program Coordinator Tricia Fancher and resident advocates on the nights and weekends.
The operations in the facility’s lower level provide for families on a much larger scale.
“One portion of our program that many people in the community don’t realize … is that we have a clearing house,” added Church. “The clearing house is for any family in need in the Marshfield area.
“Families can come here and tell us, ‘I need clothes for my child. I have no clothes. I have no diapers.’ … The problem is that if you are poor in our community, you can go and get food stamps. You can get WIC for the formula. You can get other assistance, but there is nobody that provides diapers and wipes. As we know, babies need that. There is just not an option.
“We have about five to six counties that we draw from with the clearing house. It is all done with donations. We are always looking for diapers and wipes.”
The clearing house is filled with diapers, wipes, boys and girls clothing, food, supplies, and other items that are distributed to families.
The Hannah Center operates on a $150,000 budget with no government assistance.
“We are totally dependent on grants and donations,” said Church. “We receive no governmental funding whatsoever.”
To donate or to find out more about the Hannah Center, visit hannahcenter.com or call 715-387-6300.