Teenage mothers who opt to keep their unborn babies rather than abort them have many needs. From medical care to housing to emotional support, the cost of their pro-life decision is significant. There is help for these vulnerable young women: Mary’s Shelter.

The 20-year-old organization held a fundraiser April 18 that was supported by more than 200 guests and that raised over $130,000 to help support the mission to empower and equip teen mothers and their babies.

“We are thrilled so many Mary’s Shelter supporters attended and enjoyed our New York New York themed event, which featured live entertainment, gourmet cuisine, exciting auction prizes and an up close and personal account from an alumni teen mother, whose “child” is now seven years old,” said Barbara Nelson, Mary’s Shelter executive director.   “It was also such an honor to have Bishop Kevin Vann join us and give the invocation as well as to offer a House Blessing for our live auction,” she said.

Funds raised will be used to provide residential care, access to medical care, continuing education, counseling, spiritual formation and to help young women to become independent.

“It is so important for our girls and their babies to have a healthy start in life. We couldn’t change lives as we do without the support of our selfless volunteers,” said Nelson. “Our annual Gala allowed us the opportunity to honor one of those very special volunteers, Kristine Howlett.”

Howlett, a 14-year volunteer doula, who has coached dozens of teen mothers through labor and deliver.