Sales of second-hand clothes will help provide first-hand care for women facing crisis pregnancies.
Using proceeds from the Bearly-Used Boutique, the Carroll County Pregnancy Center will offset the expenses of its counseling and referral services.
The center assists women "who choose life for their babies" in the face of difficulties, said director Gloria Szewczyk. Volunteers work with clients during and after their pregnancies, she said.
The non-profit agency recently moved from Trevanion Road to 3 York St. andadded the shop, where volunteers sell donated clothing and householdgoods.
About 50 people watched and cheered as Sen. Larry E. Haines, R-Carroll, Howard, and Mayor Henry I. Reindollar Jr. cut the ribbon on the building, which was wrapped up like a giant present for Saturday's dedication.
Located just a few doors down from the only traffic light in town, the center is nestled among antique shops and restaurants.
"We have a good location and we will do well here," saidCarolyn Perticone, a volunteer with the group for five years. "I have heard
many positive comments about our work. Many women are grateful we are here."
By way of thanks, former clients have re-donated items they no longer need, she said.
The storefront boutique will act as a good friend, a kind heart and a loving neighbor, said Szewczyk, whose four children are volunteers.
"Clients can shop here and pick what they like," she said. "If they can't afford their selections, they can have them for free."
She added the store provides a confidential entree to the counseling offices, located in the building's rear.
With the help of her mother-in-law, Marilyn, founder of the state's first pregnancy care center, Szewczyk opened the center here about five years ago.
Volunteers helped about 200 women last year, providing pregnancy testing, counseling and referral services.
The store -- its walls decorated with little dresses, baby pictures and clowns -- was yet another service the group wanted to provide, said Szewczyk.
"The store shows women somebody is here to offer hope and support," said Jane Haines, who joined her husband at the opening. "As soon as they walk in, they see the things they need to care fortheir babies."
Larry Haines commended the volunteers for their efforts and urged them to work against the recently adopted abortion bill.
"Don't give up hope," he said. "Get the message out and the abortion law will be defeated on referendum. We don't want Maryland to become the abortion capital of the country."
If the anti-abortion forces in the state collect 32,400 signatures by June 1, the bill will be brought to referendum in 1992, he said. If that happens, it willnot become law July 1.
"The issue is not dead, not as long as I am in the legislature," he said.
Amy Gilford, who attended the dedication with her 1-year-old son, said lobbyists already have begun gathering those signatures.
"So many people don't understand what this new law will do," she said. "The only people who will gain from it are the abortion clinics."
Szewczyk and Perticone both asked for more volunteers to staff the center, transport clients and pick up andrepair donated items.
"We reach out to women in need, offering them concrete services to support life in the womb and after," said Perticone.